Using transcriptomics to understand neurodegenerative disorders


As an MBPhD graduate (Cambridge University & University College London) and Academic Clinical Fellow in Neurology (London Deanery), I have been lucky enough to receive training in basic research as well as clinical medicine. I have thoroughly enjoyed both and am committed to pursuing a joint clinical and research career in neuroscience. However, I am fully aware that the gap between clinical realities and basic research can be hard to bridge.

During my PhD I investigated the role of a specific signalling system, purinergic signalling, in skeletal muscle development and regeneration under the supervision of Professor Geoffrey Burnstock (University College London). Using techniques such as cell culture, RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, I was able to dissect out the role of an individual signalling pathway. I demonstrated that activation of the P2X5 receptor for ATP potentiated muscle stem cell differentiation and that this process was dependent on activation of the p38 MAP kinase pathway.

Since my PhD the advent of high through-put microarray and sequencing-based technologies have made it possible to take a systems approach and so have the potential to provide exciting insights into complex neurological diseases. With this is in mind I have sought to develop new skills in biomedical informatics and currently hold an MRC Post-doctoral Training Fellowship in Biomedical Informatics. This fellowship has given me the opportunity to pursue my interest in the pathophysiological basis of risk genetic loci for neurodegenerative diseases and that is the focus of my current research.