Temerty-Tanz-TDRA Initiative

Supported by the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA) partnered with the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases to advance the understanding of the links between dementia and depression.

In persons aged 65 and above, depression ranks as one of the strongest modifiable risk factors for developing dementia. While depression is a treatable condition through a variety of safe and effective options, the pathophysiological links between depression and dementia are not clear. Further, it is not known what depression-related interventions will lead to preventing dementia. This is the impetus for the creation of the Temerty-Tanz-TDRA Initiative, which seeks to bridge the world-leading pre-clinical and clinical researchers across Toronto to explore how these two conditions interact and to establish clear pathways for dementia prevention by modifying depression as a risk factor.

The initiative is comprised of three elements, designed to advance its aims:

  1. Temerty-Tanz-TDRA Research Fellowships: Through a competitive fellowship, successful applicants will develop and lead a project over two-to-three years that explores the interactions between dementia and depression. There are two fellowships available: the Brain Medicine Research Fellowship is for candidates who have completed their medical residency, and the Postdoc Research Fellowship is for candidates with a PhD. Both fellowships have been designed to address an emerging need to study the brain with an interdisciplinary lens and a collaborative approach. Learn more about the fellowships, including how to apply
  2. Seed Fund Award: Seed Fund Awards will be available to advance innovative research on the intersection of depression and dementia that is multi-site or collaborative among basic and clinical sciences. The funding is $70,000 for one to three-year projects. Learn more about the Seed Fund Award, including how to apply
  3. Annual Workshop: This workshop will promote the work of the Temerty-Tanz-TDRA Research Fellows, Seed Fund awardees, and the community of researchers as a whole focusing on depression and dementia.

2022 Temerty-Tanz-TDRA Workshop: Discovering the Links between Depression and Dementia

The Inaugural Temerty-Tanz-TDRA Workshop was held at the Hart House, University of Toronto, on November 30th, 2022. The following presentation recordings are available for viewing on TDRA's portal website:

  • A tale of two risk factors in 3D: Diabetes, depression, and dementia
    Dr. Olusola Ajilore
  • Impact of lipopolysaccharide on immune response and cerebral amyloid deposition in older adults with a history of major depressive disorder
    Dr. Damien Gallagher
  • The contribution of cerebrovascular disease to depression in patients with and without Alzheimer’s disease
    Dr. Carmela Tartaglia
  • Assessment of heart rate variability in older adults with lifetime history of depression or mild cognitive impairment
    Dr. Linda Mah
  • Cross-talk between glucocorticoid hormones and both memory and emotional state
    Dr. Stafford Lightman
  • Transcranial alternating current stimulation and focused ultrasound to engage theta-gamma coupling and enhance working memory in patients with mild cognitive impairment
    Dr. Iryna Palamarchuk
  • The potential for non-invasive brain stimulation to modify motoric cognitive risk syndrome in treatment-resistant late life depression: A feasibility pilot study
    Dr. Adrian Espiritu 
  • Investigating polygenicity of antidepressant response and cognitive domains in late-life depression
    Dr. Samar Elsheikh 

By funding training and research, this initiative advances current work and will help the next generation of independent investigators emerge. Investing in these budding researchers and ideas will help us achieve a future where dementia may be prevented when it is due to depression.