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Biography

Adriana Roca-Fernandez is graduate in Psychology and holds a MSc in Neuroscience. She is trained in Neuroimaging, Neurochemistry and Neuropsychology and has been involved in several research projects in Spain, Italy, London and Oxford.

She is interested in the use of functional magnetic resonance (MRI)-based techniques to understand what drives neurodegeneration in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Neuromyelitis Optica spectrum disease (NMOSD).

Adriana Roca-Fernandez


Postgraduate Research Assistant

Research Summary

 Neuromyelitis optica spectrum diseases (NMOSD) is a rare disease that can mimic MS and is found throughout the world. It can leave people blind and wheelchair bound, and has a high mortality if untreated.  Around 80% of patients will have one of two different antibodies against either aquaporin 4 water channels (AQP-4) located on the astrocytes (supporting cells), or myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) located on myelin (the insulation around nerve fibres). These antibodies are believed to be responsible for the attack on the optic nerves, brain and spinal cord.

These diseases are new and not well understood and can be misdiagnosed, and if treated in error with MS drugs can be made worse.

Our group aims to do detailed imaging of the brain and how it changes over time comparing these new antibody conditions with each other and against multiple sclerosis. This will help improve our ability to diagnose these conditions by characterising them in a systematic way, to identify ways of monitoring treatment effectiveness and to understand the underlying mechanism of damage to help improve development of future treatments.