Research

My research interests are centred in understanding how the immune system affects the brain to influence behaviour. My PhD thesis project involved looking at how a peripheral inflammatory condition (colitis), alters the brain’s endocannabinoid system and neuroinflammation, and how that is related to the anxiety-like behaviours accompanying the disease. My previous experiences are related to investigating dendritic cells in the brain in response to viral infection and looking at how stress influences inflammatory mediator production in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex.

Techniques

  • Animal Handling, Behavioural Assays and Surgeries
    • Species Worked With
      • Rat (Sprague Dawley)
        • (allergic, no longer able to work with beyond PhD thesis completion)
      • Mice
      • Fruit flies (D. melongastor)
      • Worms (C. elegans)
      • Frogs (Xenopus laevis)
    • Behaviour
      • Stress paradigms (e.g. restraint, forced swim, elevated platform)
      • Locomotor activity (e.g. beam-break assay, open field)
      • Anxiety-like behaviour (e.g. EPM, light-dark box, open field)
    • Surgeries
      • Mouse and rat stereotaxic brain surgeries (cannula implant and infusion)
      • Mouse and rat osmotic minipup implant
      • Oocyte isolation from frogs
    • Other techniques
      • Chimera generation (irradiation + bone marrow)
    • Mouse Tg Colony Maintenance
    • Animal Use Protocol Writing
  • Cellular & Molecular Techniques
    • DNA isolation and PCR
    • RNA isolation and rtPCR and qPCR
    • protein isolation and ELISAs, WB, biochemical assays for enzymatic activity
    • cell culture
    • immune cell isolation from brains/spleens
    • flow cytometry, FACS
    • T cell proliferation assays
    • mitochondria isolation
  • Lipid Techniques
    • thin-layer chromatography
    • biochemical assays for endocannabinoid levels
  • Microscopy
    • brain sectioning (30-200 microns; vibratome, microtome, cryostat)
    • immunohistochemistry
    • fluorescence and confocal microscopy
    • laser capture microdissection
  • Other
    • oocyte electrophysiology (whole cell, two-electrode voltage clamp)
  • Inventory maintenance & ordering