Dr Fangya Xu’s research into dementia and Alzheimer’s disease exemplifies how economists at the University of Reading apply their learning to important real-world problems across a variety of disciplines.
Dementia is a significant health challenge and one of the major causes of severe cognitive deficits, disability, and dependency in daily life. With diagnoses expected to increase, dementia is one of the societal challenges listed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and a health priority for Europe.
The urgency of this challenge has inspired Fangya to apply economic theory to research into the early diagnosis and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Advancing interdisciplinary research
As part of this she works across disciplines to acquire a holistic understanding of critical areas such as healthcare. Collaborating with scientists on clinical studies is helping Fangya understand the nature of dementia in the hope of discovering a new data-driven model to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease early.
Consequently, she also expects her research to improve monetary conditions at both microeconomic and macroeconomic levels, by reducing diagnosis costs and patient diagnosis waiting times, to relieve some of the financial burden to individuals and society.
Nurturing next-generation economic thinkers
She enjoys an interactive teaching style and fosters a positive and supportive relationship with her students, hoping to train the next generation to tackle critical issues using economics.
As a result of her excellent teaching, Fangya has been nominated for the Reading Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme Supervisor of the Year award, for helping students gain real research experience.