The nervous system controls the activity of all organs within our body. This occurs through the release of a vast array of neurotransmitters by neurons that bind to their specific neurotransmitter receptors expressed within peripheral organs. Most often, alterations in the function of neurotransmitter/neurotransmitter receptors are the main culprit for development of many brain and peripheral disorders.
The main aim of my research is to investigate the impact of negative life experiences such as repeated emotional stress and the ageing process on the expression and function of neurotransmitter systems within specific neural networks of the brain and the peripheral nervous system.
I am particularly interested in identifying specific alterations in neurotransmitter systems that account for symptoms associated with brain disorders such as anxiety and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. To achieve this, I used a combination of histology, molecular biology, electrophysiology, transgenic animals, and animal behavioural assays.