Edinburgh Researchers Involved in $8.4 Million Research

Large international grant awarded for ALS Frontotemporal spectrum disorder research

Two university of Edinburgh researchers, Dr Mathew Horrocks, and Dr Jenna Gregory (Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences) are part of an international consortium linked with Columbia University and New York University that has been awarded $8.4 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is part of the prestigious high risk, high reward transformative research programme to explore the molecular underpinnings of functional impairments in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal spectrum disorder (ALS-FTSD).

ALS-FTSD is a devastating neurodegenerative disease spectrum for which there are no biomarkers and only limited treatments, stemming from a poor understanding of its pathogenesis. This funding, over the next 5 years, will allow the integration of novel biophysical tools with spatially resolved transcriptomic and proteomic analyses across different scales (from the cellular to the organismal), with the goal of unveiling how disease-associated pathology is linked to dysfunction in specific cell types in ALS-FTSD, which may in turn foster precision medicine-based treatment strategies.

About the award

The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program catalyzes scientific discovery by supporting highly innovative research proposals that, due to their inherent risk, may struggle in the traditional peer-review process despite their transformative potential. Program applicants are encouraged to think “outside the box” and pursue trailblazing ideas in any area of research relevant to the NIH’s mission to advance knowledge and enhance health.


We're thrilled to be part of a transatlantic team of researchers using state-of-the-art techniques to enhance our understanding of how proteins go wrong in such a devastating disease. The methods developed in Edinburgh will now be used across the world to look at disease-causing proteins at the nanometre length scale.


Such a prestigious grant formally linking our groups and our university with cutting edge research programmes in Columbia University and New York University will have an enormous impact on our work and it’s international reach. We hope that this will result in significant advancements in knowledge and enhance health in line with the NIH’s mission.


The science put forward by this cohort is exceptionally novel and creative and is sure to push at the boundaries of what is known. These visionary investigators come from a wide breadth of career stages and show that ground-breaking science can happen at any career level given the right opportunity.