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Data Science and Neuroinformatics

Data Science and Neuroinformatics

Our vision is to harness the power of data science and artificial intelligence to combat dementia and promote brain health.


We aim to develop risk reduction strategies, new diagnostic and prognostic tools, and enhanced treatment options. To protect our ageing brains we need better smarter research and fast. That’s why we are working hard to innovate and discover new ways to analyse data and put it to work more effectively. From experimental medicine to digital health, from imaging to biomarkers, from genetics to lifestyle, we believe that the data that we already have contains many of the answers that we need. To uncover hidden patterns in the data requires us to move away from a traditional hypothetico-deductive approach and embrace complexity.


We are comprised of data scientists, dementia researchers, machine learning specialists, and clinicians with expertise in:

  • Genetics and omics
  • Imaging
  • Biomarkers
  • Applied models and digital health
  • Drug discovery and clinical trials
  • Prevention
  • Experimental models


Key initiatives:


The Deep Dementia Phenotyping (DEMON) Network is the world’s leading initiative for the application of data science and AI to combat dementia and promote brain health. The DEMON Network was launched in November 2019 with funding from the Alan Turing Institute and Alzheimer’s Research UK and has rapidly grown to over 1,300 members from six continents. The Network is headquartered at the University of Exeter and the core team includes Professor David Llewellyn (Director), Dr Janice Ranson (Deputy Director), Dr Ilianna Lourida (Research Fellow), and Cecilia Golborne (Project Manager). The Steering Committee includes Professors Clive Ballard and Richard Everson. Benefits of membership include extensive opportunities for collaboration on active projects, papers and grants, and knowledge transfer activities including workshops, talks, and practical training courses. 


We have recently had approval to launch a new Alan Turing Institute Interest Group in Precision Dementia Medicine which we plan to launch in May 2022. The focus of the Interest Group will be to engage with methodologists at the Turing and further afield to enhance the analytic options available to understand high-dimensional biomedical and clinical data related to dementia and brain health.


Our work on precision dementia medicine and the promotion of brain health falls within the Health Theme at the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (IDSAI). The Health Theme also encompasses other complementary areas of expertise in which Exeter has considerable strength including diabetes, mental health and genetics. Dr Eilis Hannon is the Biomedical Lead and Professor David Llewellyn is the Clinical Lead. 


At Exeter we play a number of key roles in the Alzheimer’s Research UK-led Early Detection of Neurodegeneration (EDoN) initiative. EDoN aims to develop a toolkit of digital biomarkers that are sensitive to the earliest signs of functional change caused by neurodegeneration. This large-scale global initiative involves trialling a combination of hardware and software in a range of groups including those who are cognitively normal, those at high risk for developing dementia, and those in the early stages of dementia. Professors Richard Everson and David Llewellyn sit on the Steering Committee and have leadership positions in the Digital and Clinical Hubs.


We are supported by a wide range of funders including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK), the Alan Turing Institute. We also have official partnerships with the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) and the UK Reproducibility Network.

Data Science and Neuroinformatics - who we are

 Professor David Llewellyn  Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Digital Health
 Professor Jonathan Mill   Professor of Epigenomics 
 Dr Eilis Hannon   Senior Research Fellow 
 Dr Emma Dempster   Senior Lecturer 
 Dr Janice Ranson  Research Fellow in Dementia Prevention and Diagnostics
 Dr Ilianna Lourida  Research Fellow
 Dr Darren Soanes    Postdoctoral Research Fellow 
 Alice Franklin   Research Technician