Most people with Alzheimer's disease have late-onset Alzheimer’s in which the symptoms appear after the age of 65. However, changes in the brain occur decades before the disease manifests itself. Early identification of the disease, even before symptoms manifest, is of interest for people at risk, and for early treatment options. More knowledge of these early brain mechanisms is essential and that is what professor of Dementia Science, Ronald van Kesteren, wants to explore. Ronald van Kesteren will deliver his inaugural lecture entitled ‘Dementia, a matter of networks’ on Wednesday 29 June 2022 in the aula of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

On 1 February, 2022, Ronald van Kesteren, associate professor at the Center for Neurogenomics & Cognitive Research (CNCR) at VU Amsterdam was appointed as full professor of Dementia Science. Van Kesteren investigates early changes in brain mechanisms underlying the cause of dementia, with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease. Ronald van Kesteren studies the pathological mechanisms of early changes in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. Whereas a critical role was previously attributed to the accumulation of the amyloid protein, it is now becoming increasingly clear that other processes in the brain are also disrupted at an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. For example, neuronal network activity and the balance between excitation and inhibition in the brain are impaired early on.

Translational science

An important part of Ronald van Kesteren his work is to connect fundamental research with the latest insights from genetics and with clinical practice. Van Kesteren: “My research focuses primarily on the fundamental understanding of the molecular, cellular and physiological changes that occur early in the disease process, in animal and cellular models of Alzheimer's disease.” In cooperation with the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, researchers are looking into whether knowledge of disturbed neuronal network activity in mice can help find early changes in human brain activity that may be indicative of the onset of Alzheimer’s and how these changes can then be inhibited.

Follow the inaugural lecture online, start at 15:45, go to VU Amsterdam livestream.