I am a Research Assistant at the Institute of Neurology and my main job is to manage the Biobank. UCL is running two initiatives investigating frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a study called GENFI involving patients with a family history of FTD also known as genetic cases and a study with sporadic cases of FTD known as LIFTD. I am responsible for collecting, processing and storing samples of blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid from study participants. The Biobank is expanding quickly, as we are collaborating with many other study sites, universities and hospitals around the world.
These studies are very exciting and our aim is to perform biochemical assays on patient samples to investigate altered proteins or changes in the concentration of proteins in FTD affected patients. The identification of a particular molecule altered in FTD would be extremely valuable, as it could be used as a specific biomarker for FTD, aiding in the diagnosis of the disease. A biomarker could also give us an insight into the pathological mechanism of the disease and advance treatments for FTD patients and their family.