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Biomedical Vacation Scholarship.
LOL! The science and art of laughter.
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Poetry Residency.
VEGF signalling in the nervous system.
This project aims to examine if VEGF-C patterns the nervous system during axon guidance or synapse formation, and to define the molecular pathway by which VEGF-A signals in neurons independently of its role in blood vessels. Define the role of VEGF-C and its receptor VEGFR3 in axon pathfinding Determine if VEGF-A and VEGF-C function co-operatively to control axon pathfinding Identify NRP1 co-rece… more
What is the difference between epithelial and mesenchymal cell junctions: understanding the molecular basis of contact inhibition of locomotion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
When two epithelial cells make contact they form a stable cell adhesion complex that finally results in the formation of an epithelium. However when two mesenchymal cells make contact the outcome is completely different: they do not form a permanent adhesion complex and very frequently they move away from each other in a behavior called contact inhibition of locomotion . Intriguingly, cell adh… more
Regulation of presynaptic terminal bioenergetics, Ca2+ signalling and function by Miro1 and Miro2 GTPases.
Mechanisms and plasticity of dendritic temporal sequence processing.
The mechanism by which neurons detect, organize and process numerous chemical and electrical signals is a fundamental problem in modern neuroscience. For example, the ability to discriminate spatiotemporal sequences of synaptic input has been suggested to be important for generating efficient coding schemes, and input sequence detection in general is a computation essential for animal behaviour. … more
Olig2 and the regulation of neural stem cell fate.
During development of the central nervous system (CNS), neuroepithelial stem cells (NSCs), residing in the ventricular zones (VZ) of the embryonic brain and spinal cord, divide and differentiate to generate all the neurons and glial cells (astrocytes and oligodendrocytes) of the mature CNS. Typically, neurons form before glia. In the ventral spinal cord, for example, embryonic NSCs of the pMN pro… more
Representation of sensory information with temporal codes.
We will investigate how specific features of visual stimuli are represented bythe sequence of activation of neuronal populations in mouse V1 using high speed in vivo calcium imaging techniques. Temporal coding will be studied by measuring the latencies of both excitatory and inhibitory neurons, which will be distinguished with genetic labelling. In order to understand the temporal dynamics in the… more
Investigating the pathogenesis and novel therapeutic approaches in Spinal Bulbar Muscular Atrophy (SBMA).
Using the AR100 transgenic mouse model, we will examine the mechanisms that contribute to motor neuron (MN) degeneration in SBMA. AR100 mice have a progressive neuromuscular phenotype accompanied by MN degeneration, and therefore mirror the human disease. Our recent results show that ER stress is present in SBMA MNs, even during embryonic development, suggesting that this mechanism plays a key ro… more
Properties of GABAergic inhibition in the prefrontal cortex.
The molecular mechanisms underpinning GABA receptor mediated synaptic and tonic inhibition in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) will be investigated. Dysfunction of the PFC is implicated together with GABA neurotransmission in numerous neurodevelopmental disorders. The main objective of this project is to analyse the basic mechanisms involved in inhibitory transmission in the PFCand understand how thes… more
Retinal repair using ESC-derived cone photoreceptor precursors.
Retinal degenerations leading to loss of photoreceptors are a major cause of untreatable blindness; in particular theloss of cone photoreceptors reduces visual acuity in patients. The Ali laboratory has previously demonstrated proof of principle for cone photoreceptor transplantation into the adult wildtype and degenerate retina. They have shown that cone photoreceptor transplantation is feasible… more
Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the complement factor C9 can control neural crest migration and invasion.
Research regarding Neural Crest (NC) migration is important for understanding the development of many organs and systems. Increasing evidence of similarities between NC migration and cancer metastasis have also attached an additional importance to this area of study. Preliminary investigations have suggested a novel role for the complement cascade in early development with the finding that severa… more
The role of the homeobox gene Hesx1 in stem cell fate.
The elucidation of the transcriptional mechanisms underlying cell stemness is an important goal of modern cell biology and a vast amount of research has revealed the functionof several transcription factors in the maintenance and induction of pluripotency. Hesx1,encoding a transcriptional repressor, is a critical homeobox gene during normal vertebrate development and its absence leads toforebrain… more
Bioethics, Privacy and Medical Genetics in Developing Country Contexts.
This meeting aims to address some of the urgent and important bioethical issues raised by the transformation of human and medical genetics as an international and transnational field of research and private/public health provision. Focusing on the South American context (particularly Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay) the two day symposium event will combine a mixture of keynote presentations from int… more
University College London team for 2012 International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Synthetic Biology Competition
Assessment of the HIV-1 viral reservior following chemotherapy in HIV-1 infected patients
An HIV vaccine remains elusive, and there are serious doubts as to whether large scale antiretroviral therapy can be maintained. Curative strategies are therefore now being explored. These approaches require an understanding of theHIV reservoir. I wish to explore the impact of stem cell transplantation and/or cancer chemotherapy, on markers of HIV replication, to understand the site of the reservoir, and the nature of viral re activation in vivo.
Identifying novel therapeutics and disease mechanisms for ribosomal-protein mediated human haematopoietic disease: Award of a Wellcome-Beit Prize.
My research project uses embryos from zebrafish, a simple vertebrate organism to model two genetically related but clinically distinct conditions, myelodysplasia with loss of 5q and Diamond-Blackfan anaemia. The pathophysiology of these conditions is thought to be related because both result in anaemia associated with ribosomal protein haploinsufficiency. In Aim 1 I use an innovative adaptation o… more
Cellular and synaptic mechanisms of learning in cortical circuits.
Genetically encoded calcium indicators combined with two-photon imaging enable the repeated measurement of response properties of individual neurons in the cortex of living animals through a cranial window. These indicators are also suitable for repeatedly recording activity at single synaptic inputs in vivo and, when combined with other markers, further allow determining the dynamics of synaptic… more