Alzheimer’s Disease

Deep and Frequent Phenotyping

Experimental Approach

Our lab members are specifically involved in identifying potential neurophysiological markers using M/EEG recordings. These non-invasive electrophysiological methods are unique in providing a direct read-out of neuronal activity with high temporal resolution, and they can provide insights into the health of communication between brain cells and brain areas. Each participant in the study completes a broad set of clinical and experimental assessments multiple times over a three-month period, including: imaging of amyloid in the brain (using PET), imaging of brain structure and function (MRI), imaging dynamics of brain activity (PET), retinal imaging, providing CSF and blood, and completing a battery of behavioural tasks.

These recordings will be analysed both alone and in the context of the wide range of other assessments to understand how they can best contribute to a multi-modal biomarker. MEG scans for this study are being completed at the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, York NeuroImaging Centre, and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London.


The translation of basic science to positive clinical outcomes is a major focus for the Brain & Cognition Lab. As a part of this, we are involved in the MRC/NIHR funded ‘Deep and Frequent Phenotyping Study’, which is embedded within the Dementia’s Platform UK. The project brings together teams from Oxford, Cambridge, London, and Newcastle, with the aim of identifying the most sensitive markers (or combination of markers) to detect changes linked to the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. The development of sensitive biomarkers that can track disease risk, onset, and progression is critical for developing and evaluating therapeutic interventions.

We urgently need new and better treatments that can be given to patients as early as possible to prevent brain damage associated with dementia. This study aims to study the brain before damage has progressed so that they can identify biomarkers that can indicate change even when a person has no apparent symptoms. These biomarkers would make it possible to target treatment in the early ‘pre-clinical’ phase before a patient begins to suffer from dementia symptoms.

Investigators and Collaborators

The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping Study is lead by Professor Simon Lovestone (Oxford). Professor Kia Nobre is the lead for the Electrophysiology studies, in collaboration with Professor James Rowe (Cambridge). Andrew Quinn is the main postdoctoral researcher conducting the electrophysiology experiments. We work in close collaboration with the group responsible for imaging brain structure and function, led by Professor Clare Mackay (Oxford)

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