Profile – Dr Sarah-Naomi James, University College London

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Dr Sarah-Naomi James


Dr Sarah-Naomi James

Job title:

Alzheimer’s Research UK postdoctoral researcher

Place of work / study:

University College London

Area of Research:

Risk and preventative factors of brain health; epidemiology; life course; cognitive reserve; brain imaging; cohort studies.

How is your work funded?

Alzheimer’s Research UK, Medical Research Council

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am an neuroepidemiologist, interested at linking life course influences with later-life brain health and deterioration. I did my BSc in neuroscience and my MSc and PhD in epidemiology. I live with my husband and our one-year-old son and kitten. I love music, reading and long walks.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

I love to do public engagement work and have led lots of initiatives to share our work at festivals up and down the country, including creating a mini golf course, themed around life course influences on health.

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

I found the fact that we can use in vivo imaging to visualise dementia pathology developing, at least 10 years before dementia symptom onset, incredibly motivating and hopeful. It gives us a window of opportunity to understand and intervene on risk and protective influences on pathology, preceding symptoms, and I wanted to be involved with that effort.

What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?

I am early career research myself so welcome any advice! I have found that the dementia field is incredibly collaborative and am gaining more confidence to just reach out to others, to ask their advice and build potential collaborations.

What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?

One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.  I brought it to AAIC as it was physically the lightest book I have been meaning to read, which I thought would be good for travelling. However, the heaviness and painfulness of the subject should not be underestimated. I would highly recommend everyone read this thought-provoking book, but not for escapism or entertainment. There is a reason it is mercifully short!

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