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Dr Kirsty Lu
Dr Kirsty Lu profile picture
Appointment
  • Research Fellow
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Biography

Following undergraduate studies at Cambridge University (Natural Sciences – Experimental Psychology, first class), I joined the Dementia Research Centre at UCL as a Research Assistant.  I gained experience in neuroimaging and neuropsychological research on a range of studies investigating different types of dementia, with a particular focus on sporadic and familial Alzheimer’s disease.  My role has also included conducting cognitive and clinical assessments for multiple clinical trials and helping to run support groups for patients and families affected by rare forms of dementia.  For 2 years I also worked part-time for as a Research Assistant in Global Mental Health at King’s College London, supporting a project in Zimbabwe which uses psychological therapy to treat depression and improve adherence to antiretroviral medication among people living with HIV. 

Since September 2015 I have worked full-time on the Insight 46 study at the Dementia Research Centre.  This sub-study of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 Birth Cohort) aims to identify life-course factors which influence brain health, cognitive ageing and dementia risk.  I completed a part-time PhD (awarded October 2019) within this study, investigating cognition in later life and its relationship with biomarkers of preclinical Alzheimer's disease.  I am now continuing this work as a postdoctoral research fellow.

Research Summary

I am currently working on Insight 46, a sub-study of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (British 1946 Birth Cohort). This is a major longitudinal study of 500 individuals who were all born in the same week in 1946, combining intensive cognitive and clinical assessment with collection of neuroimaging, blood and genetic biomarkers. The aim of my research is to understand more about the earliest changes in cognition associated with preclinical Alzheimer's disease. I use novel computerised cognitive tests to detect subtle cognitive changes and I investigate how these changes relate to life-course factors and brain pathologies.

Academic Background
2019   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2012   Bachelor of Arts (Honours) University of Cambridge
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