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-AMPK Signaling Mediates the Neuroprotective Effects of Calorie Restriction in Parkinson's Disease. Journal of Neuroscience 36(10), 3049-3063.
  2. & Metformin Prevents Nigrostriatal Dopamine Degeneration Independent of AMPK Activation in Dopamine Neurons. PLOS ONE 11(7), e0159381
  3. & Paradoxical leanness in the imprinting centre deletion mouse model for Prader-Willi syndrome. Journal of Endocrinology, JOE-16-0367
  4. & Ghrelin function in human obesity and type 2 diabetes: a concise review. Obesity Reviews
  5. & 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.

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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.

Supervision

  • Characterising ghrelin peptide expression in the adult brain: towards a MALDI-imaging method for Parkinson’s disease biomarkers (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
  • 'The Effects of Ghrelin and Mild Nutrient Restriction on Neuronal Autophagy' (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
  • Ghrelin AMPK mediated mitochondrial dynamics (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
  • The development of a solid-state hMeDIP assay for epigenetic analysis of neural stem cell function - implications for dementia (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
  • Ghrelin regulation of the adult hippocampal stem cell niche (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • Ghrelin mediated lipid retention and insulin resistance in human visceral adipose tissue (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Sarah Prior
    Other supervisor: Prof Jeffrey Stephens
  • Preventing nerve cell loss in Alzheimer's disease: a role for the orexigenic hormone ghrelin? (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
  • Investigating novel small molecule enzyme inhibitors for treating cognitive decline and dementia (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan
  • Natural and synthetic GHSR-agonists as neuro-protective agents against Parkinson's disease (current)

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

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alwena Morgan