Defying Dementia

Raising funds and awareness of Lancaster University's research into Alzheimer's Disease

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In Memory of Professor David Allsop

It is with great sadness that Defying Dementia announces the death of Professor David Allsop, who died on 8th March 2021.

David’s research was in the field of neurodegenerative diseases and he was particularly interested in investigating the pathological consequences of misfolded proteins in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. David made seminal contributions to this field and was a pioneer of the Defying Dementia campaign.

David was enormously popular among those he taught, his enthusiasm and quality of research-led teaching will live long in the memory of those he taught.

We extend sincere condolences to his wife Jane, his children Rachel, Ben and Celia, grandchildren Oliver and Louis and all members of his family.

The Defying Dementia Campaign

The importance of Defying Dementia

This powerful video explains why our Alzheimer's drug MUST be developed. Please look below to find out more about the campaign and the fantastic work that it is doing.

Our Research

Prior to David Allsop’s passing, his research group at Lancaster University had been developing a way of treating Alzheimer’s. The condition is caused by the accumulation of ‘clumps’ of poisonous protein fragments in the brain that kill nerve cells. These clumps are formed mainly from two sticky proteins called ‘amyloid beta’ and ‘tau’. David initially developed a drug that could stop/slow down the formation of amyloid beta clumps and was working on developing it further to stop the formation of tau clumps. Essentially, the drugs work by sticking many copies of another protein fragment, similar to the ones in the poisonous clumps, to the surface of tiny fat droplets called liposomes. The liposomes help get the protein fragments into the brain where the latter insert themselves into the toxic clumps and cause them to dissolve.

As a group of neurodegeneration scientists at Lancaster University, we wish to see David’s research legacy continued and, at the same time, develop it further to incorporate additional aspects of our own research with the overarching aim of developing a drug effective against Alzheimer’s. Neil Dawson worked closely with David and is developing ways of combining his drugs into a single treatment that simultaneously reduces both amyloid beta and tau clumps in the brain. Cheryl Hawkes works on ways of improving communication between nerve cells in the brain and improving blood supply to the organ, both of which are important in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Finally, Edward Parkin is looking at ways of using gene therapy to increase levels of proteins in the brain that protect against the development of Alzheimer’s and potentially incorporating these drugs into the centre of the fat droplets in David’s drugs in order to develop combination therapies against the disease.

Collectively, we form a strong research team passionate about continuing the development of a drug that has the potential to slow down, or even stop the progression of this devastating disease. With your help, our research will contribute to making this possible!

Defying Dementia Research Team
Top Left: - Dr. Edward Parkin Top Right: - Dr. Cheryl Hawkes Bottom Left: - Dr. Neil Dawson


  • About Us

    About Defying Dementia

    Defying Dementia is a community-supported campaign aiming to change the world that we live in and make a real difference to people's lives by tackling the big threat that is presented by Alzheimer's disease.

    There are currently no drugs available that cure Alzheimer’s, none that prevent it, and not even any drugs that are able to slow down its progression.

    Defying Dementia was founded in 2015 by Dr Penny Foulds, in order to progress a promising Alzheimer's drug (developed by Professor David Allsop and his team) into human clinical trials. We have been conducting important pre-clinical experiments on this treatment, thanks to the money that has been donated through the Defying Dementia campaign. We hope that our drug will be able to progress into human clinical trials very soon, which will take place at Blackpool-based MAC Clinical Research.

    The campaign has now expanded to include regular events for the community such as The Bay Dementia Hub, Freshers Young Onset Cafes, sponsored walks, lectures and the Defying Dementia Fundraising and Community Shop at 50 Church St, Lancaster.

    With an ageing population, more families are going to face the heartbreak caused by this disease that destroys memory, personality and movement, unless we can tackle it now.

  • Meet the Team

    The Defying Dementia Team

    Meet our Defying Dementia team at Lancaster University who are fundraising for, and carrying out this important research into neurodegenerative diseases.

    Dr Ed Parkin focuses on how the small protein fragments that kill nerve cells in the brain are produced in Alzheimer's disease.

    Dr Neil Dawson investigates how genetic and environmental risk factors for psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease impact on brain functioning, behaviour and cognition. He also studies how brain imaging can give us a greater insight into brain diseases.

    Dr Penny Foulds is the Defying Dementia campaign founder. She completed her first degree at Lancaster and then qualified as a secondary school science teacher. She came back to Lancaster and studied for her PhD with Professor Allsop. She has a personal experience with the effects of neurodegenerative diseases and now works for MAC Clinical Research.

    Dr Norah Ulzheimer is our Research Associate, she joined the team in 2019 and works full time in our research labs to progress our promising new Alzheimer’s drug towards human clinical trials. Norah’s role also involves public engagement, she reguarly attends our community events including the Fresher’s Young Onset Cafes and Bay Dementia Hubs.

  • Useful Resources

    Useful Resources

    Please find below useful links and resources containing information about dementia, dementia service providers and community groups.

    Age UK Lancashire: A charity that works with and for older people in Lancashire. They offer a range of services including social groups, luncheon clubs, exercise classes, computer lessons and home help services to assist older people in remaining active, independent and linked into their local community.

    Alzheimer's Society: Information for children, teenagers and young adults. Understanding Alzheimer's can be difficult, especially for children and young people. These resources make it easier to explain Alzheimer's to young people and so make it easier for them to adapt.

    Boots Repeat Prescription Service: Boots Pharmacies can have your medicines ready and waiting at the Pharmacy instead of you having to go to the doctors to pick up your prescription. The Pharmacy can also let you know when the Doctor needs to see you for a review, send you texts when your prescription is ready and you can also order medicines you don't use regularly in store or online.

    Dementia Action Alliance: The DAA bring together organisations across the UK that are committed to transforming the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

    Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP): DEEP brings together groups of people with dementia from across the UK

    Dementia Friends: An initiative ran by the Alzheimer's Society to help people learn more about dementia and how to support those living with dementia.

    First Stop: Delivering innovation in information and advice to help older people find suitable housing, care or financial advice.

    Freshers: A sociable get together for people 40+ with dementia, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

    Housing Care: Providing accommodation options and services to help older people live independently at home.

    Lancashire County Council Adult Social Care: Information and support on adult social care for those living in Lancashire.

    Lancaster Clinical Assessment Volunteering: The Lancaster Clinical Assessment is the final clinical practical assessment for 4th-year medical students studying at Lancaster University. Each year people who have a variety of health issues or conditions who are willing to tell their story and be examined by students are needed. For more information, please telephone 01524 516044 or email clinical.skills@mbht.nhs.uk

    Unique Homecare: Long term supporters of Defying Dementia, Unique Homecare are leading provider of homecare services based in Galgate, Lincoln and Skipton. If you are in need of short-term relief or a more permanent care arrangement, Unique can provide you with the care you need. In addition to this, they also host a number of free dementia support groups and workshops to support the families and loved ones of those living with dementia.

    Please note: The facts and information contained in the above sites are from external sources and not from Defying Dementia.

  • Get Involved!

    Join the Defying Dementia Fundraising campaign

    Lancaster University's Defying Dementia campaign needs your support to tackle these devastating diseases.

    There are many ways in which you can support us. You can make a donation, volunteer for us by organising your own fundraising events or help us out at our events. We are very lucky to have such brilliant existing volunteers within our Defying Dementia team, and we welcome anyone to join us.

    Join our ever increasing band of energetic and passionate volunteer fundraisers. We can provide you with all the information and support you need. Our volunteers have so far organised cake sales, ran marathons, organised large community events and done memorial collections at a loved-one's funeral. One volunteer has even walked Hadrian's Wall for Defying Dementia! The possibilities are endless.

    Email us with your fundrasing ideas or download our virtual fundraising toolkit to help plan your event.

    If you already have an idea and are ready to make a start on your fundraising, set up your JustGiving page by following the top 10 JustGiving fundraising tips and email us once your page is complete. We will then promote the great work you are doing to support our campaign.

  • Defying Dementia Student Society

    Defying Dementia Student Society

    Defying Dementia is very lucky to have the Student Society based at Lancaster University supporting their fundraising and awareness efforts.

    The Defying Dementia Student Society aims to raise support and awareness about Defying Dementia among students at Lancaster University. The Society organises socials as well as events in order to raise funds for the campaign projects. Previous events include a Santa Dash, Pub Quiz and shop bag pack. Each term the Society has regular meetings where you can learn more about the work that is happening right here in the laboratories in Lancaster University.

    If you are interested in joining, please contact the Society through their Facebook page.

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  • Contact us

    By Post

    Development and Alumni Relations
    C Floor
    University House
    Lancaster University
    Bailrigg, Lancaster
    LA1 4YW
    United Kingdom

    By Phone

    +44 (0)1524 594109

    We're here Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

    By Email


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Contact Us

By Post

Philanthropy, Alumni and Supporter Engagement
C Floor
University House
Lancaster University
Bailrigg, Lancaster
United Kingdom

By Phone

+44 (0)1524 594109

We're here Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

By Email


Contact a member of our team directly.

Fundraising Promise

Lancaster University is committed to ensuring that our fundraising is legal, open, honest and respectful.

View our Fundraising Promise and Formal Complaints Process.