LMCB - Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

Emily Brookes's picture

Postdoctoral Fellow, Riccio Lab


Europe PMC | PubMed | ORCID

Twitter @EBrookesNeuro

Research synopsis

The Bdnf gene encodes a neurotrophin with critical roles in brain development and function. Bdnf exerts positive effects on neuronal survival and differentiation, and on synaptic plasticity. It is therefore important in learning and memory, and neuronal regeneration, as well as neurodevelopment. I am elucidating the genome architectural changes that accompany Bdnf activation during brain development and neuronal activation. We show that the mouse Bdnf gene is regulated by topological mechanisms including movement away from the nuclear periphery during development. We have identified a novel enhancer region that loops to the Bdnf gene in differentiating neurons and is critical for Bdnf upregulation during development and consequently for Bdnf-mediated dendritic growth. This has implications in many neuronal diseases, since Bdnf is downregulated in neuro-developmental, -psychiatric and -degenerative disorders, and conversely its upregulation has a neuroprotective effect.


2011-2015 Postdoctoral Fellow, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA
2006-2011 PhD, MRC-CSC, Imperial College London, UK
2005-2006 MRes Integrative Biomedical Sciences, MRC-CSC, Imperial College London, UK
2002-2005 MA (Hons) Natural Sciences (Physiology), Cambridge University, UK


2016-2018 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship 
2012-2013 EMBO Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship 
2012-2014 Jérôme Lejeune Foundation Award
2005-2009 Medical Research Council 4-year PhD Studentship
2003, 2004 Gonville and Caius College Scholarship, awarded twice


Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship (2016-2021)
Wellcome Trust

Research themes

Transcriptional regulation
Genome architecture
Neuronal development


Light microscopy
High throughput sequencing