Tara Spires-Jones is Professor of Neurodegeneration at the University of Edinburgh where she is Deputy Director of the Centre for Brain Sciences and a UK Dementia Research Institute Group Leader. Her research focuses on the mechanisms and reversibility of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease, other degenerative brain diseases, and ageing. Working with a vibrant group of researchers, she is trying to understand why synapses and neurons become dysfunctional and die in these diseases in order to develop effective therapeutic strategies. Her work has shown that soluble forms of the pathological proteins amyloid beta and tau contribute to synapse degeneration, and that lowering levels of these proteins can prevent and reverse phenotypes in model systems. Further, she has pioneered high-resolution imaging techniques in human post-mortem brain and found evidence that these proteins accumulate in synapses in human disease.
In addition to her research, Prof Spires-Jones is passionate about communicating scientific findings to the public and policy makers; increasing the rigour and reproducibility in translational neuroscience; promoting inclusivity and diversity in science; and supporting career development of neuroscientists. She is founding editor of the translational neuroscience journal Brain Communications, a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors at Science, Section Editor a the European Journal of Neuroscience, and is on the editorial boards of Neuron and Cell Reports. She was also a founding member of the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence, which works to promote the future of European Neuroscience.