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The DEMON Network is led by Director Prof David Llewellyn and Deputy Director Dr Janice Ranson

Partnership to drive forward experimental dementia research with data science and artificial intelligence

A new partnership brings together a combination of around a thousand scientists and innovators from the Deep Dementia Phenotyping (DEMON) Network and the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI).

Launched on 17th July this partnership unites these large initiatives which have the shared ambition of conducting leading dementia research that leads to improved diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

The DEMON Network is led by Director Prof David Llewellyn and Deputy Director Dr Janice Ranson at the University of Exeter Medical School. Funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) and the Alan Turing Institute, the Network aims to provide a platform for innovation and facilitate novel collaborative approaches for interdisciplinary dementia research.

The UK DRI was established to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of interventions that will help diagnose, treat and ultimately prevent dementia. Led by Prof Bart De Strooper, their aim is to apply data science and artificial intelligence to expedite the transformation of data into clinical and biologically relevant knowledge in neurodegeneration research.

Professor David Llewellyn, DEMON Network Director, said: “We established the DEMON Network to bring innovators together, roll up their sleeves and transform the way dementia is prevented, diagnosed and treated. Both the DEMON Network and the UK DRI are keen to think big, focus on impact and take risks to make a real difference. This partnership strengthens the translational aspect of the UK DRI’s research and gives new opportunities to our ambitious and talented DEMON Network members”.

Dr Janice Ranson, DEMON Network Deputy Director, said: “The DEMON Network’s vision is to revolutionise dementia research and healthcare by connecting innovators and harnessing the power of data science and artificial intelligence. This new partnership will allow for interdisciplinary collaborations to maximise the potential of UK DRI data, enabling research on a scale not previously possible to make transformational advances in dementia research”.

The recently launched DEMON Network incorporates over 500 scientists, clinicians and industry partners across 6 continents. Network members contribute to collaborative research initiatives across 8 coordinated Working Groups, with support from a dedicated Clinical Advisory Panel and a Patient and Public Involvement Panel. This infrastructure includes training, networking, educational knowledge transfer and engagement with industry for real world impact. Members have wide-ranging interests including the optimisation of clinical trials, neuroimaging, diagnostic technologies, analytic methods development, genetics, and experimental medicine making it a perfect partner for the UK DRI.

The UK DRI is a joint investment by the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK which brings together over 400 researchers and 160 students with world-leading expertise in one national institute with over 55 Group Leaders across seven centres at UCL, the University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and King’s College London.

The partnership includes the appointment of a new DEMON Network National Lead based at the UK DRI, to support joint research activities and knowledge exchange between talented researchers with complementary areas of expertise.

Prof Bart De Strooper, Director of the UK DRI, commented: “Enormous scientific and technological advances have made it possible to generate huge volumes of data that will hold clues to some of the big unknowns in dementia research. If we’re to take full advantage of these data, we need to draw on the widest possible pool of expertise and tackle the problem from every angle, leaving no stone unturned. By partnering with the Alan Turing Institute and the DEMON Network, we can draw on a vast range of skills and knowledge. In particular, their extensive experience of harnessing data science and artificial intelligence will help us accelerate progress towards new treatments and approaches. Partnerships like this are vital to solving problems and making the breakthroughs needed to revolutionise the way we treat dementia. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.” 

This partnership was launched at a Research Showcase on July 17th, including DEMON Network members demonstrating how they are using data science and artificial intelligence to enhance dementia research.


Date: 17 July 2020