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Research interests

The Molecular Neueroendocrinology Research Group uses gene discovery and transfer techniques to study the neuronal regulation of the cardiovascular system in health and disease. Interests have focussed on hypothalamic neurons involved in the maintenance of plasma osmolality, and the integration of autonomic cardiovascular signalling by brainstem (nucleus of the solitary tract; NTS) neurons (in collaboration with Dr Julian Paton, Dept of Physiology, University of Bristol).

We are using microarray, differential screening and yeast two-hybrid methodologies to identify genes expressed in hypothalamic and brainstem neurons, and genes which alter their pattern of expression following physiological challenges. The hypotheses that emerge from the analysis of expression information must be tested with genetic methods involving the transfer of genes into model organisms. We have accumulated considerable experience with the generation and analysis of transgenic models; both germline systems mediated by the microinjection of fertilised one-cell eggs with cloned DNA fragments, and somatic systems mediated by the stereotaxic injection of Adenoviral gene transfer vectors into specific brain regions. Current strategies involve combining gene discovery with precise real-time physiological measurements.

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