Formula One legend helps in race to cure dementia

22 January 2021

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A Queensland Brain Institute researcher will be putting the pedal to the metal to win the race against dementia after being awarded a fellowship from Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart.

Dr Adekunle Bademosi, a postdoctoral fellow in the Meunier lab and fomrer researcher with the Walker Lab, was named a recipient of a joint fellowship program between Sir Jackie’s charity, Race Against Dementia, and the Dementia Australia Research Foundation.

Dr Bademosi, alongside The University of Sydney’s Dr Andrew McKinnon, were chosen from more than 40 applicants for the inaugural ‘Race Against Dementia – Dementia Australia Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship’.

Dr Adekunle Bademosi.

“I am excited to join the Race Against Dementia team”, Dr Bademosi said. “I am grateful to Sir Jackie Stewart and Dementia Australia Research Foundation for provided this amazing opportunity.

“I look forward to making use of the opportunity afforded by this fellowship to provide answers to key questions in the field by approaching the dementia conundrum using inspiration from the high-performance elements of Formula1.

“I also look forward to the networking components, developmental opportunities and collaborations afforded by this postdoctoral fellowship”.

Formula One inspires dementia research

Dr Bademosi’s research will explore how and why frontotemporal dementia begins by using advanced imaging tools that have resolutions up to ten million times that of a standard digital camera. The results obtained will help scientists to produce drugs that target frontotemporal dementia.

“Race Against Dementia is building an international team of dementia scientists, who not only have their research funded, but also benefit from developmental opportunities, inspired by best practice in Formula 1 technology from both McLaren F1 and Red Bull Racing as well as other high tech commercial enterprises”, Sir Jackie said.

“My wife, Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2014, and ever since then I have devoted my efforts globally to raise funds and stimulate breakthroughs and innovations in dementia research.

“I hope this award assists the recipients, and the research community more broadly, to apply a ‘Formula 1 attitude’ to work faster and smarter and continue to make breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of dementia”.

Sir Jackie's wife, Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2014.

Dementia requires global action

Chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, said the joint program with Race Against Dementia would help fire this global fight to the chequered flag.

“With dementia affecting almost 50 million people worldwide and someone in the world developing dementia every three seconds, research into dementia is now more urgent than ever”, Professor Samuel said.

“We are delighted to launch this joint fellowship with Race Against Dementia, powered by Sir Jackie’s vision and commitment to dementia research.

“These fellowships form part of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation’s 2020 grant round, with more than $1.7 million in funding on offer for early-career researchers.

“This is an incredibly valuable initiative, and we are excited to be joining Race Against Dementia’s international network of early-career researchers. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the research”.

The postdoctoral fellowships will be for three-years and are worth $405,000 each, and become the third major Race Against Dementia fellowship program alongside Alzheimer’s Research UK and The Mayo Clinic, USA.

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