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Ruby recently started as a postdoctoral researcher in DPUK. Alongside pursuing her research in factors affecting mental health and wellbeing, she contributes her valuable experience of working with cohort data to the developers working on the Data Portal upgrades.

Swansea, the hub of the UK’s world leading informatics expertise, is where you’ll hear the hum of the hundreds of UKSeRP servers that are the home to the DPUK Data Portal. The virtual space of the Data Portal is, in reality, run from Swansea University’s state-of-the-art Data Science Building overlooking the Bristol Channel. Here, Mark Newbury is one of the people you’re very likely to be regularly in touch with. Mark’s on hand to help bring researchers to data, because, as all researchers know, it’s not quite as simple as a click of a button, just yet.

Catherine Calvin, an analyst at Dementias Platform UK (DPUK), investigates population study data of adults in midlife and older, to understand factors that relate to the risk of developing dementia in later life. In a recent paper published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, Catherine demonstrates that genetic susceptibility to developing obesity – a contributing risk factor for dementia – may be modified by lifestyle habits.

Bryan spends a lot of time in a lab, nose down a microscope just like many of his colleagues from university. But the special cells he’s working with put him right at the frontier of cell-based studies in dementia. He’s working with patient-specific stem cells which will enable him to compare the experimental outcomes he’s observing with symptoms which were recorded in the clinics.

Ivan Koychev, Great Minds lead and Clinical Scientist at Dementias Platform UK (DPUK), describes an exciting new chapter in dementia research which, with the support of generous new members of Great Minds, promises to accelerate the development of innovative new treatments.

'I’d thought it was all doom and gloom for dementia research’ Marianne said. ‘But I’d not understood that sometimes this is because testing on volunteers only takes place too late'. DPUK brought Marianne Talbot – a cohort participant, and Ivan – an old-age psychiatrist, together to discuss the bright prospects cohorts offer dementia research.

Five members of the public, all committed to the fight against dementia, recently joined us round the table in London. They shared with us their perspectives of what is critical for volunteers to know before joining research studies. We discovered that clear communication around data security and the volunteer’s control over their contribution is vital to build trust.

As a data curation research assistant for DPUK, Josh is chipping away at the coalface of DPUK’s mission to bring cohort data together into a powerful resource for researchers. In his blog he allows us an insight into a key job that makes it possible for researchers to compare data across different cohorts in the Data Portal.