ERUK Emerging Leader Fellow Assistant Professor
Phone: 024 7615 1226
Office: IBRB 1.31
Opportunities in the group
- PhD applications through the MRCDTP, MIBTP, and other international schemes.
- MBio projects in Neuroscience.
- URSS applications.
Please contact me to discuss the potential project.
My research focuses on communication between neurons and non-neuronal brain cells called glia in healthy brain and how it is altered in different neurological disorders. We are specifically interested in the role of microglia and astrocytes in epilepsy and how these cells either help to protect neurons in epilepsy or deteriorate neuronal function that might lead to drug-resistant seizures and other comorbidities in epilepsy such as memory dysfunction and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). We use range of laboratory techniques such as in vivo neuroglial imaging using miniscope cameras, behavioural testing, in vitro slice recording, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, and transcriptomics.
Research: Technical Summary
Epilepsy affects around 65 million people worldwide and 600,000 in the UK.
Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP):
SUDEP is defined as sudden unexpected death of person with epilepsy, who was otherwise healthy. Almost 600 people suffer from SUDEP every year in the UK and it is identified as the number one epilepsy research priority through UK Epilepsy Priority Setting Partnership (https://epilepsyresearch.org.uk/uk-epilepsy-psp/).
The major cause of SUDEP is identified as either the cardiovascular or respiratory failure, which is likely to be mediated through central autonomic system. Our findings have established a breathing phenotype in rodent model of epilepsy that is correlated with the activity of chemosensitive neurons in the brainstem. Our aim is to develop a diagnostic biomarker test in people with epilepsy to identify who might at the risk of SUDEP and identify the role of non-neuronal brain cells, microglia and astrocytes, in cardiorespiratory autonomic failure that leads to SUDEP.
Despite significant advances in epilepsy therapies, almost one-third of people with epilepsy still do not respond to the current medications. Microglia are the resident immune cells of the central nervous system and play a major role in neuronal homeostasis during and after seizures. We want to investigate the mechanisms and function of microglia in epilepsy and how they play both beneficial and detrimental role in epilepsy, which will help to develop therapeutic options to treat drug-resistant seizures.
People with epilepsy also suffer from memory dysfunction. Astrocytes and microglia play an important role in shaping neuronal network and synaptic strength. Role of astrocytes and microglia in formation and consolidation of memory is less know but burgeoning literature highlights their potential and contribution in shaping memory. Our aim is to identify the contribution of glial cells in cognitive changes in people with epilepsy and the molecular mechanisms that drive these changes.
- Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick (2023- ).
- ERUK Emerging Leader Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick (2022- ).
- Research Fellow, Epilepsy Research UK (ERUK) funded project, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick (2019-2021).
- Research Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick (2016-2019).
- PhD, Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia (2013-2016).
- Research Assistant, Department of Pharmacology, University of Virginia, USA (2012).
- M Pharm (Pharmacology), Pune University, India (2008-2010).
- B Pharm, Shivaji University, India (2004-2008).