Q&A: Pietro Esposito is studying protein build-up to better understand Alzheimer’s

Meet Pietro Esposito, PhD student at the University of St Andrews, who discusses his research into Alzheimer's.

Favourite things?

  • Book – How emotions are made: The secret life of the brain, by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
  • Way to spend time – Outside the lab, I love to cook Italian recipes for my friends.
  • Memory – Spending time over the summer at my grandparents’ house with my twin Marco.

Why dementia research?

The main reason behind my choice to enter the neurodegenerative disease field was that my grandmother Flora was affected by dementia in the last years of her life.

So, I decided to apply all the expertise that I have acquired so far to the fight against dementia.

Pietro Esposito

How has Alzheimer’s Society supported your work?

As an Alzheimer’s Society funded researcher, I was supported in many ways such as by being invited to participate in the annual Society retreat.

This was a great opportunity to meet other researchers who work in the same field to exchange experiences and build a network of collaboration.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently studying the formation and accumulation of protein aggregates within the brain.

We see the build-up of certain types of protein in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, and this interferes with how well the cells of the brain can work.

I’m studying how this build-up can be influenced by changes in the size of the spaces between the brain cells.

What difference do you hope this will make?

I hope that, with my investigation, we’ll start to understand more clearly the mechanisms underpinning the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The end goal is to improve the lives of people affected by this disease.

In what direction would you like to take your research in future?

I would like to apply my findings to other neurodegenerative diseases that affect the central nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

Support research

£15 will support what PhD researchers like Pietro do, and will help to ensure that their vital work continues.

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