About Tara

Tara Spires-Jones runs a research group studying brain changes in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Her laboratory studies the synaptic connections between neurons, which in healthy brain allow learning and memory. The goal of the group is to understand the mechanisms of synapse degeneration in order to develop treatments that will promote recovery of brain function.  In addition to her research, Prof Spires-Jones is passionate about communicating scientific findings to the public and policy makers; increasing the rigour and reproducibility in translational neuroscience; promoting inclusivity and diversity in science; and supporting career development of neuroscientists.  She is a founding member of the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence, which works to promote the future of European Neuroscience. She served as a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council from 2016-2019 advising the Scottish Government on science policy, and in 2018 was elected as a term Member of the European Dana Alliance of the Brain promoting public engagement with neuroscience.

Monica Garcia-Alloza and Tara Spires-Jones have a long-standing collaboration examining synapse degeneration in models of Alzheimer’s disease combined with diabetes phenotypes.  Alberto Lleo and Tara Spires-Jones are collaborating to understand the accumulation of pathological proteins in synapses in Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Alzheimer’s disease.  We are using high resolution array tomography to examine sub-synaptic localisation of alpha-synuclein, amyloid beta, and tau. Martin Ingelsson and Tara Spires-Jones are collaborating to characterize synaptic pathology in a novel model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ongoing HEAT-Net collaboration

  • Monica Garcia Alloza to study synaptic changes in models of AD.  They have co-authored 7 studies.

  • Alberto Lleo to study synaptic changes in DLB and AD. They have 4 co-author papers.

  • Christine von Arnim to study pathological changes in AD and ALS. They have 2 co-author papers.

  • Martin Ingelsson to study pathological changes in models of AD and tauopathy. They have 1 co-author paper.

List of Heat-Net collaborative publications with at least 1 member of the consortium (from other Heat-Net group) from the last 5 years.

  • Antidiabetic Polypill Improves Central Pathology and Cognitive Impairment in a Mixed Model of Alzheimer’s Disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
    Infante-Garcia C, Ramos-Rodriguez JJ, Hierro-Bujalance C, Ortegon E, Pickett E, Jackson R, Hernandez-Pacho F, Spires-Jones TGarcia-Alloza M.
    Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Jul;55(7):6130-6144. doi: 10.1007/s12035-017-0825-7. Epub 2017 Dec 9.
    PMID: 29224179

  • Progressive Neuronal Pathology and Synaptic Loss Induced by Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease.
    Ramos-Rodriguez JJ, Spires-Jones T, Pooler AM, Lechuga-Sancho AM, Bacskai BJ, Garcia-Alloza M.
    Mol Neurobiol. 2017 Jul;54(5):3428-3438. doi: 10.1007/s12035-016-9921-3. Epub 2016 May 14.
    PMID: 27177549

  • Human tau increases amyloid β plaque size but not amyloid β-mediated synapse loss in a novel mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.
    Jackson RJ, Rudinskiy N, Herrmann AG, Croft S, Kim JM, Petrova V, Ramos-Rodriguez JJ, Pitstick R, Wegmann S, Garcia-Alloza M, Carlson GA, Hyman BT, Spires-Jones TL.
    Eur J Neurosci. 2016 Dec;44(12):3056-3066. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13442. Epub 2016 Nov 12.

  • Differential central pathology and cognitive impairment in pre-diabetic and diabetic mice.
    Ramos-Rodriguez JJ, Ortiz O, Jimenez-Palomares M, Kay KR, Berrocoso E, Murillo-Carretero MI, Perdomo G, Spires-Jones T, Cozar-Castellano I, Lechuga-Sancho AM, Garcia-Alloza M.
    Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Nov;38(11):2462-75. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 Jun 21.
    PMID: 23790682

  • Synaptic phosphorylated α-synuclein in dementia with Lewy bodies.
    Colom-Cadena M, Pegueroles J, Herrmann AG, Henstridge CM, Muñoz L, Querol-Vilaseca M, Martín-Paniello CS, Luque-Cabecerans J, Clarimon J, Belbin O, Núñez-Llaves R, Blesa R, Smith C, McKenzie CA, Frosch MP, Roe A, Fortea J, Andilla J, Loza-Alvarez P, Gelpi E, Hyman BT, Spires-Jones TL, Lleó A.
    Brain. 2017 Dec 1;140(12):3204-3214. doi: 10.1093/brain/awx275.
    PMID: 29177427

  • Non-Fibrillar Oligomeric Amyloid-β within Synapses.
    Pickett EK, Koffie RM, Wegmann S, Henstridge CM, Herrmann AG, Colom-Cadena M, Lleo A, Kay KR, Vaught M, Soberman R, Walsh DM, Hyman BT, Spires-Jones TL.
    J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 May 30;53(3):787-800. doi: 10.3233/JAD-160007.
    PMID: 27258414