Catherine N. Hall is interested in how the brain balances energy supply and demand. During her PhD (with John Garthwaite, UCL), she studied nitric oxide (NO) consumption by brain tissue. As a post-doctoral researcher (with David Attwell, UCL), she investigated when NO impacts brain oxygen consumption and how much oxygen is required by different components of neuronal transmission. She then studied how NO and other signalling molecules interact to control the brain’s energy supply by regulating the tone of capillary pericytes. They found that capillaries dilate before arterioles in vivo, and constrict and die after ischaemia. This suggests pericytes may initiate the vascular response to neuronal activity, but could contribute to hypoperfusion and delayed neuronal damage after stroke. In 2014 she became a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex, and now studies how neurovascular coupling varies during different brain states and at the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and obesity.
Clare undertook a PhD at University College London on the Wellcome Trust 4 year PhD program in Neuroscience. Working with David Attwell, she discovered a new mechanism for the control of brain blood flow at the capillary level and produced the first energy budget for the cerebellum. Following her PhD, she was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship which enabled her to work with Brian MacVicar (University of British Columbia), applying two-photon microscopy to brain slices, and with Nicola Sibson (Oxford), using in vivo MRI and optical imaging techniques to elucidate the role of astrocytes in regulating cerebral blood flow responses to hypercapnia. In October 2013 she moved to the University of Sheffield, where she was recently awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society to investigate the role of astrocytes in neurovascular coupling in health and aging.
Anusha Mishra is interested in the physiological and pathological interactions between astrocytes and the cerebral microvasculature. Her interest in astrocytes began with the visualization of their fine ultrastructure while studying presynaptic plasticity using electron microscopy in Kristen Harris’s lab. She did her PhD with Eric Newman at the University of Minnesota investigating astrocyte regulation of retinal vasculature. Here, she discovered a drug that reverses the loss of neurovascular coupling in diabetic animals (it is currently under clinical trial on Type I diabetes patients). Anusha then worked with David Attwell’s lab at University College London, where she demonstrated that astrocytes regulate capillary diameter in the cerebral cortex, and found evidence suggesting that ischemia-induced capillary constriction might underlie the no-reflow phenomenon following stroke. In November 2016, Anusha started her own research group at Oregon Health & Science University where she is investigating the relationship between reactive astrocytes and cerebrovascular dysfunction after ischemic stroke.
Alberto Lazari, University of Oxford; Early Career Representative
Alberto is interested in the biological bases of MRI signals. After receiving a BSc in Neuroscience from University College London, where he worked on the regulation of myelin sheath growth in David Attwell’s group, Alberto started a Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD program in Neuroscience in 2015 at University of Oxford, where he is currently based in Heidi Johansen-Berg’s lab, within the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. His research focuses on mechanisms and dynamics of brain plasticity, in particular myelin plasticity, and how these relate to MRI signals. To this end, he combines human studies, where he uses brain stimulation and novel MRI techniques such as quantitative MRI, with rodent studies using structural and functional MRI as well as in vivoelectrophysiology.