I am interested in how alterations in metabolic status effect brain function.
My laboratory is currently focused on delineating the mechanism(s) of action of circulating hormones, that are regulated by feeding, on protecting against nerve cell loss associated with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. We are also keen to understand how these circulating hormones may modulate neural stem cell (NSC) plasticity in adults to promote memory function.

Areas of Expertise

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Dementia
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Ghrelin
  • Adult hippocampal neurogenesis
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Dementia

Publications

  1. & Ghrelin mediated neuroprotection - A possible therapy for Parkinson's disease?. Neuropharmacology
  2. & Less is more: Caloric regulation of neurogenesis and adult brain function. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 29(10), e12512
  3. & NF-κB signalling is involved in immune-modulation, but not basal functioning, of the mouse suprachiasmatic circadian clock. European Journal of Neuroscience 45(8), 1111-1123.
  4. & Acyl ghrelin improves cognition, synaptic plasticity deficits and neuroinflammation following amyloid beta (Aβ1-40) administration in mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology
  5. & Unacylated ghrelin promotes adipogenesis in rodent bone marrow via ghrelin O-acyl transferase and GHS-R1a activity: evidence for target cell-induced acylation. Scientific Reports 7, 45541

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Teaching

  • PM-304 Biomolecular Research Project

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  • PM-333 Aspects of Human Sensory and Metabolic Biochemistry

    This module introduces students to the physiology and biochemistry of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Special aspects of central nervous system biochemistry such as the provision of energy for the brain, the metabolism of neurotransmitters and the role of neurotransmitters in controlling behaviour is also considered. Consideration is given to defects in the CNS and the implications for pathological states such as epilepsy, Parkinson's Disease and Multiple sclerosis. The module concludes with a description of the biochemistry and physiology of visual transduction, olfaction and sensory biochemistry.

  • PM-368C Doctor as a Practitioner 4

    This module enables medical students to consolidate their clinical and communication skills within their clinical practice, building on what they have learned in the previous years and preparing themselves for the foundation year training programme. Focusing on the notion of the Doctor as a practitioner (Tomorrow's Doctors, GMC 2009), this module enables students to further enhance their skills within a safe but clinically-focused environment.

Supervision

  • Cellular and molecular mechanisms of ghrelin-mediated neurogenesis (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • Ghrelin AMPK mediated mitochondrial dynamics (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • Ghrelin-axis function int the context of adult hippocampal neurogenesis (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • Investigating novel small molecule enzyme inhibitors for treating cognitive decline and dementia (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • Preventing nerve cell loss in Alzheimer's disease: a role for the orexigenic hormone ghrelin? (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • The role of ghrelin in epigenetic regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
  • The role of neuronal autophagy in ghrelin mediated neuroprotection and neurogenesis: Implications for dementia and associated disease (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
  • Characterising ghrelin levlels in human circulation and brain: towards a MALDI-imaging method for Parkinson’s disease biomarkers (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • 'Natural and Synthetic GHSR1a Agonists as Neuroprotective Agents in Models of Parkinson's Disease' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • 'Acyl-ghrelin mediated lipid retention and inflammation within in vitro and ex vivo adipose depots' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Jeffrey Stephens
    Other supervisor: Dr Sarah Prior
  • 'The Effects of Ghrelin and Mild Nutrient Restriction on Neuronal Autophagy' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan