Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology


NPP News

Dr Ivan Kadurin awarded a Project Grant from the British Heart Foundation

Dr Ivan Kadurin has been awarded a £160K grant as a PI from the British Heart Foundation. Ivan will lead a project investigating how auxiliary proteins regulate Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels (VGCCs) in sensing and responding to electrical signals in arterial smooth muscle cells. Elucidating these mechanisms can provide rationale for targeting dysfunctions of the cardiovascular system. Ivan’s project builds on his postdoctoral work on VGCCs in the group of Professor Annette Dolphin (NPP) and on his existing collaborations with Professor Riccardo Olcese (UCLA) and Professor Andrew Tinker (QMUL).

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Dr Saad Hannan secures Fellowship to study Rett Syndrome

Congratulations to NPP’s Dr Saad Hannan who has been awarded a $100K Fellowship from the international Rett Syndrome Foundation. He will lead a project to characterise dysfunctions of GABAergic inhibition in Rett Syndrome. This is a debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder effecting 1:10,000 live births resulting in severe mental and physical disabilities.
Saad's study will address previously unexplored links between inhibitory neurotransmission and Rett syndrome. He will also assess the effectiveness of targeting GABA receptors as a therapeutic avenue using new resources created during the project.

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Kimberley Whitehead secures grant to translate neuroscience to the clinic

Congratulations to Research Associate Kimberley Whitehead from NPP who has been awarded a £70k grant as PI. The funding has been secured from the MRC Confidence in Concept and UCLH Biomedical Research Centre’s portion of the UCL Therapeutic Acceleration Support Fund. She will lead a project to build a model of sleep-wake cycling in human neonates.

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Professor Annette Dolphin delivers the 2019 Mabel FitzGerald Lecture

The annual lecture, hosted by the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford, pays tribute to Mabel Purefoy FitzGerald - the pioneering physiologist, clinical pathologist and the second female member in the history of the American Physiology Society.
Professor Dolphin, who is a University of Oxford graduate with a BA in Natural Sciences and holds a PhD from the University of London's Institute of Psychiatry, delivered this year's talk entitled: Neuronal calcium channel trafficking and function: relevance to chronic pain.

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First ever Discovery Fellowship for UCL awarded to NPP’s Dr Asaph Zylbertal

We are very pleased to congratulate Asaph Zylbertal who has been successful in securing the BBSRC Discovery Fellowship. This highly competitive scheme, previously called Future Leader Fellowships, provides support for researchers wishing to undertake independent research and gain leadership skills.
The award of £300K will allow Asaph to study how the transformation of visual input to behaviour is modulated in the brain, by combining two cutting edge techniques: cellular resolution whole-brain functional imaging in larval zebrafish and modern machine learning techniques. The work will be undertaken in Dr Isaac Bianco's lab.
This is the first Discovery Fellowship ever awarded to any UCL researcher. Please join us in congratulating Asaph for his outstanding achievement.

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NPP's Leonor Gonçalves nominated for the STEM Trailblazer of the Year Baton Award

Leonor Gonçalves is a STEM trailblazer who went to Oregon Health and Science University (USA) as a trainee where she learned brain electrophysiology in just one year. In 2009 she gained her PhD in Neurobiology from University of Minho and University of Helsinki (Finland). She has been a Postdoctoral Associate Researcher since 2009 at University College London (UCL; UK) where she researches brain plasticity associated with chronic pain.
The Baton Awards is the platform for recognising BAME women in Britain. The awards will celebrate BAME women of past, present and future by acknowledging Britain’s BAME pathfinders and inspiring future pioneers across diverse sectors.

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Congratulations to NPP's Isaac Bianco

Dr Isaac Bianco (research profile) and Dr Elena Dreosti (lab website) are part of a consortium of 13 academics and European SMEs that has been successfully awarded an EC Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Networks funding. Their “ZENITH" programme will train 15 graduate students who will undertake highly interdisciplinary systems neuroscience projects investigating sensorimotor processing. Students will work in at least two labs in two European countries and also benefit from a range of workshops, symposia and industrial internships. The programme will start in September 2019.

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Professor Bernard Ginsborg Obituary

With great sadness we announce that Professor Bernard Ginsborg passed away recently aged 93. He is very well known in the fields of Pharmacology and Physiology and was associated with UCL from the 1950s.
He was born in London and trained as a physicist, before taking a second degree from 1952 in Physiology (UCL) on AV Hill's recommendation.
With Paul Fatt at UCL he discovered voltage-gated calcium currents which led to a long-standing research interest in synaptic neurotransmission and secretion. He moved to Edinburgh via the NIMR in 1958 and became Head of the Department of Pharmacology in 1980, retiring in 1985.
Bernard was a member of the Physiological Society from 1957, and British Pharmacological Society from 1968 supporting both Societies for many years as well as being an outstanding Editor of The Journal of Physiology. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1971. He was Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at The University of Edinburgh.

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Kim Whitehead awarded UCL Global Engagement grant

Congratulations to NPP Research Associate Kim Whitehead who has received a £2000 UCL Global Engagement grant. The funds will be used to visit the Frank lab in the US (website) to establish a collaboration aiming at translating animal models of neonatal sleep-wake neuroscience to human pre-term infants.

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Dr Francesca Cacucci receives prestigious Wellcome Trust Investigator award

Congratulations to Dr Francesca Cacucci who has just secured a 5-year prestigious Wellcome Trust Investigator award. Her research will investigate how hippocampal spatial responses develop in the rat, and what are the relative roles of experience-dependent and independent processes in building cognitive maps.

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NPP's Dr Stephanie Koch in conversation with the Naked Scientists team on developing our sense of touch

Dr Stephanie Koch was interviewed on The Naked Scientists, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire for a program on touch and sensation. The Naked Scientists produce science programmes for the general public, explaining current scientific breakthroughs and topical studies. In the final podcast of their series covering the five senses, Stephanie discussed how the sensation of touch develops in neonates and how we learn to respond to painful events.

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