Alzheimer's, mice and touchpads!

AU$5450of AU$5200
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Alzheimer’s disease is awful. It slowly robs someone of their memories, what makes them *them*, all while the people who love them most watch them disappear. I've seen it with my own grandmother. 

Pictures above: my grandmother, me at 3 years old and my dad.

There are approximately 50 million people with Alzheimer’s worldwide, more than double Australia’s population, with a new person being diagnosed every 3 seconds. Despite trying many treatments, we still don't have an effective one. A potential reason for these failed treatments is that the way we traditionally tested learning and memory in Alzheimer’s mice is fundamentally different to how we test human learning and memory! 

We are training mice to play memory games on touch sensitive computer screens - it's like a computer game for the mice, and the tasks we get them to do are the same we would give to Alzheimer's patients! We can then see if a potential treatment treats the specific symptoms we see. I believe that this will make drug development faster, less stressful for the animals involved and more efficient.

I’m the first person in Australia to use these touchpads with Alzheimer’s mice (one of which is pictured here)

Help me accelerate drug development for Alzheimer’s and other crippling brain diseases so I can help prevent the crushing feeling of being forgotten by the ones you love most.

At the end of the experiment, all backers will receive a lay summary of how the experiment went and where we will be going next!

NB: Please note that you can not get a tax deductible reciept if you pick a reward

How The Funds Will Be Used

To screen a potential therapeutic for Alzheimer's, we need to have 4 groups of mice of 12 mice each:
1. Normal (control) mice, no treatment

2. Control mice, treatment

3. Alzheimer's mice, no treament

4. Alzheimer's mice, treatment

We house siblings together, and normally we average about 5 cages per group - so 20 cages in total. Each cage costs $5 a week to provide clean food, clean water and clean bedding, as well as paying for a veterinarian on site. Additionally, as Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, we need our animals to be at least 8 months before we start our experiment, and then need another 4 months to complete all the tests on the touchscreens that are related to Alzheimer's symptoms to see if our treatment can make those symptoms better.  


Time of experiment: 52 weeks 

Mouse housing costs per week: $5 x 20 cages= $100/week

Total mouse hosing costs : $100 x 52 weeks = $5200

Total cost: $5200

The Challenges

There are 2 major challenges related to this experiment: 

First, the touchscreens themselves are very sensitive. On one hand, this is great because we can get amazingly detailed data so very subtle changes in our mice can be found; however this does make them more likely to break.
To combat this issues, we have excellent IT staff who have been working with us on the touchscreens for many years, so they can fix common errors very quickly and efficiently. Additionally we have spare parts so that should anything go wrong that needs a longer fix, we can immediately sub in a new part so the experiment isn't disrupted. 

Second, the testing itself is very ardous on the experimenter - the mice are tested for 1 hour a day, 6-7 days a week. This can be emotionally and physically draining, but I have a great team who are incredibly supportive and can help me out if I need it. Additionally, I have run a couple of these long touchscreen experiments already and am confident I can carry them out again, as I know it's important work that I truly believe in. 


on 30th Jun 2017 at 1:59pm. The payment portal is closed now.
AU$2 +Tax Deductible ReceiptTax Deductible ReceiptYou will be issued with a tax deductible receipt.
7 Chosen | Unlimited Available
AU$25 +Mouse magnetGet your own little slice of our experiments - you'll receive a magnet with a picture of one of our mice using the touchscreens. This great conversation starter will be the star of your fridge!
15 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is September 2017
AU$50 +Lecture with Nippy'sAdmit one. A lecture held at The Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health on Alzheimer's and the brain. Amy Shepherd and Dr Emma Burrows will talk about how the brain changes in Alzheimer's, what we can learn from mice and share some of their exciting data! Please note you must be able to travel to the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia.
9 Chosen | 91 AvailableEst. delivery is September 2017
AU$100 +Coffee with a scientistYou and a friend will get taken out for coffee by Amy to chat all things science! Good coffee* and good chats guaranteed. *Unless coffee isn't your thing, in which case any beverage of your choice will do!
10 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2017
AU$250 +Follow a mouse in real timeEvery one of our mice is a little different. Some are dedicated learners, some spend all day sleeping against the screen, while other's are always out to explore! Receive regular updates on their learning progress. You'll also get a picture and video of your particular mouse in the touchscreens, should you want it!
4 Chosen | 16 AvailableEst. delivery is July 2017
AU$500 +Alzheimer's lecture by Amy ShepherdAmy Shepherd will give a custom lecture at about Alzheimer's, what we can learn from mice and share some exciting data! Please note that the lecture location must be in Melbourne, Victoria or given over video conference.
2 Chosen | 3 AvailableEst. delivery is May 2017
AU$1000 +Tour of the Florey laboratory facilitiesSee where the magic happens! You'll get to come into the lab Amy uses at the Florey Institute and see all the tricks of the trade we use. Please note you will need to be able to travel to the Florey Institute of Neuroscience in Melbourne, Australia
0 Chosen | 5 AvailableEst. delivery is August 2017