Published: 16 June 2016

Dementia research supported by graduate

A chemical engineering alumnus with vast experience in the healthcare industry has set up a PhD studentship to further research into dementia and its treatment.

Tony Tan, who graduated in 1971, will support a doctoral student on a study to identify interventions to alleviate the neuropsychiatric symptoms that contribute to the dementia syndrome.

The student will be supervised by Dr Raphaelle Winsky-Sommerer, Reader in Sleep and Circadian Rhythms, in the School of Biosciences and Medicine, whose research focuses on the relationship between sleep, circadian rhythms and brain disorders.

The Alzheimer’s Society reports there are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. It mainly affects people over the age of 65 (one in 14 people in this age group have the condition). However, it can affect younger people: there are more than 40,000 people in the UK under 65 with diagnosed dementia.

Professor David Blackbourn, Head of the School of Biosciences and Medicine, said: “We are very grateful for the funding from Mr Tan. Supporting PhD studentships is vitally important for furthering research into some of the most pressing societal issues of our time. Dementia has a significant impact on the lives of people diagnosed and their families. Understanding ways to improve treatment for those affected is paramount and this research is expected to contribute to such knowledge.”

Mr Tan is currently chairman of Singapore Medical Group, a private specialist healthcare provider, and chairman of Island Hospital, Penang, Malaysia. He was the founder and managing director of Parkway Holdings Limited in Singapore until 2000 and deputy chairman until his retirement in 2005.

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