Introduction

The aim of the Neurobiology Group is to study the effects of environmental hazards on the epigenetics of brain disorders. Brain disorders encompass neurological (i.e.: Alzheimer's disease, sleep disorders, chronic pain, epilepsy) and neuropsychiatric (i.e.: Depression, anxiety, affective disorders) conditions and diseases. Most of them are multifactorial with interplay between environmental and genetic factors. One cellular mechanism underlying the link between environmental and genetic factors is epigenetic mechanisms.

Briefly, epigenetics are the mechanisms affecting the expression of genes without modifying the DNA sequence, and they are influenced by environmental factors. There are various epigenetic markers such as histone acetylation and methylation, and DNA methylation to name the most studied. While there is a growing body of evidence that neuroepigenetic mechanisms are involved in brain disorders and mental health, the mechanisms are poorly understood. It is also less understood how environmental hazards affect neuroepigenetics. Therefore, further investigations are need to find and understand when and how the switch of a healthy neuron to a pathological neuron leads to brain disorders.

The goal of our group is to investigate the effects of environmental hazards on the epigenetics of brain disorders using various methods such as cellular culture, epigenetic editing with CRISPR-dCas9, in vitro electrophysiology assay, and animal model of nervous disorders and diseases.

Projects

  • Funded by NIHR HPRU on Chemical and Radiation Threats, we are:
      • Developing a novel screen for environmental neurotoxins.
      • Studying the effect of mycotoxin on human neuronal cell lines.
  • Development of an epigenome editing tool using CRISPR-dCas9
  • Networks

    National Institute for Health Research, Health Protection Research Unit: Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards.

    External Funding

    Areas for potential collaboration

    We are continuously seeking potential collaborations with all research establishments (universities, institutes and government organisations) to study the effects of environmental agents on brain functions, epigenetics, and behaviour.

    Contact us

    Contact us if you would like to find out more detail or stay informed about a particular field of research. We are always interested in collaborating and are open to partnerships, to drive forward innovation for the benefit of the public.

     

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