I received my BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience from Cardiff University in 2015. During this time I completed a research training year at the Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine, in Berlin. I worked under the supervision of Professor Gary Lewin investigating novel proteins which modulate touch and pain sensation. I returned to Cardiff to finish my BSc where I undertook a research project involving sensory neuron development with Professor Alun Davies FRS. I then accepted a Wellcome Trust DPhil Studentship at the University of Oxford on Ion Channels in Health & Disease (OXION), where I am currently a DPhil Student in Neural Injury research group led by Professor David Bennett.
I have a key interest in the neurophysiology of Pain and Touch sensation. There are still a lot of questions about the molecular mechanisms behind different pain-states but it is widely accepted that the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is critical and a major peripheral driver of both acute and chronic pain. DRG neurons have peripheral terminals innervating sensory targets such as the skin and central terminals, which enter the dorsal horn of the spinal cord.
My research focuses on this peripheral somatosensory circuit. I aim to identify novel populations of primary sensory neurons within the DRG and characterise their contributions to different pain-states. I am also interested in how the immune and genetic manipulation of contactin-associated protein 2 regulates the excitability of primary afferents, which innervate the skin, and how this excitability contributes to touch and pain. To investigate these questions my research uses a wide range techniques including: chemogenetic silencing, patch clamp electrophysiology and skin-nerve primary afferent recordings.
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