Dr. Rosamund F Langston

Lecturer in Behavioural Neuroscience

Understanding learning and memory processes in rodents and humans during development and degeneration

Address:

Division of Neuroscience
University of Dundee
Mailbox 6, Level 6
Ninewells Hospital & Medical School
Dundee DD1 9SY

Phone Number:

+(44) 01382 383430

Email Address:

r.f.langston@dundee.ac.uk

Biography

After completing my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh I took the opportunity to stay there for a BBSRC-funded PhD under the supervision of Prof Richard Morris and Dr Emma Wood, studying rodent behavioural models of learning and memory, specifically episodic memory and schema learning. Work from my PhD on the role of the hippocampus in a variety of these behavioural tasks has been published in Nature, Science and Hippocampus among other journals.  After completing my PhD in 2007 I left Scotland for Trondheim, Norway to join the laboratory of Professors Edvard and May-Britt Moser (Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory) and learn the technique of neuronal ensemble recording in awake behaving rats. I embarked on a project investigating the development of spatial firing properties of neurons in the hippocampus and entorhinal/parahippocampal cortices of baby rats. This work was published in Science in April 2010.

Near the end of my postdoctoral project I was offered a permanent position at the University of Dundee as a Lecturer in Behavioural Neuroscience at the Division of Neuroscience, part of the newly formed Medical Research Institute. I have been there since February 2010.

Research

I am currently working on two main research areas. The first is investigating the development of different types of memory in juvenile rats with a view to using this novel approach to characterise the neuronal signature of episodic memory, and to create age-appropriate models of developmental learning and memory disorders. Episodic memory is severely impaired in both elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and in young patients following developmental brain injury (often sustained during birth). Identifying the neural circuits which underlie episodic memory is therefore at the forefront of neuropsychological research. The developing rodent model provides a unique opportunity to study the emergence of neural mechanisms of cognitive processing: preliminary evidence suggests that laboratory rodents show differential development of different memory subtypes, mirroring the slow development of memory in human infants. This project utilises behavioural testing, immediate early gene imaging and extracellular single neuron recordings from awake behaving rats, all of which are techniques currently established or being established in my Dundee laboratory. I have recently published the first paper from my independent laboratory, showing differential development of spatial vs. non-spatial memory in juvenile rats.

The second research area is an industry funded Discovery Partnership with Academia(GlaxoSmithKline) in collaboration with Professors Jerry Lambert and Susann Schweiger (Division of Neuroscience) and Dr David Gray (Drug Discovery Unit) in which we are combining behavioural, electrophysiological and molecular genetics approaches to characterise cognitive and motor deficits in a mouse model of Huntington’s disease and develop therapeutic targets. 

 

Research Grants & Funding

  • 2012- Tenovus Scotland- £9.7K- A rodent model of diet-induced dementia (PI)
  • 2011- Industrial partner- £975K- Characterisation of the HDQ111 murine Huntington’s disease model (co-PI)
  • 2011- Anonymous Trust- £9.6K- Anatomical characterisation of memory development (PI)
  • 2011- Tenovus Scotland - £9K- A novel developmental model of memory in rodents (PI)

 

Prizes & Awards

  • 2011: European Brain & Behaviour Society Young Investigator Award
  • 2010: European Science Foundation LESC award
  • 2009: Shortlisted for Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship
  • 2007: British Neuroscience Association Postgraduate Award for the best UK PhD Thesis
  • 2007: Personal Prize + BNA Postgraduate Prize-winner Scientific Report published:
  • 2007: Langston, R.F. (2009), The role of the hippocampus in event memory in the rat (BNA Bulletin)
  • 2007: Prix Liliane Bettencourt pour les Sciences du Vivant (postdoctoral fellowship) awarded to me by   Professors Edvard & May-Britt Moser after they received the prize
  • 2004: Place awarded and financial costs covered to attend FENS/Hertie Winter School on “Research strategies for the study of animal models of cognition and its pathologies”, Kitzbuehel, Austria (Award from FENS/Hertie, EBBS, IBRO)

2003-2007: Various travel awards which covered all conference travel during my PhD, including awards from FENS, EBBS, British Neuroscience Association, BRAIN, Experimental Psychology Society,University of Edinburgh Alumni Fund and the George Boyd Memorial Trust

 

 

 

Publications

Teaching

I supervise PhD and Honours/summer vacation students in my laboratory as well as lecturing Honours year Pharmacology, Neuroscience and Medical students on Molecular Mechanisms of Learning & Memory and Behavioural Techniques.

I have previously been invited to teach on the Autumn School in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and I am also a mentor for the Society for Neuroscience which involves teaching in workshops at the Society’s annual meeting in the USA.

Conferences

Invited presentations

  • 2012 (June) MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, University of Bristol, UK
  • 2012 (April) MRC Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • 2012 (March) Royal Society of Edinburgh/French Embassy in London, Franco-Scottish Workshop
  • 2011 (September) European Brain & Behaviour Society Young Investigator Symposium, Seville, Spain
  • 2011 (May) Spring Hippocampal Research Group Meeting, Verona, Italy
  • 2011 (March) MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2010 (December) Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health, University of Aberdeen, UK
  • 2010 (September) Oxford Autumn School in Cognitive Neuroscience, Oxford, UK
  • 2010 (August) 7th Scottish Neuroscience Group Meeting, University of Strathclyde, UK
  • 2009 (March) Division of Medical Sciences, University of Dundee, UK
  • 2008 (March) 1st Annual EU SpaceBrain Meeting, Kongsvold Fjellstue, Oppdal, Norway
  • 2007 (May) The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • 2006 (June) Psychology Department, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • 2005 (November) School of Psychology, University of Cardiff, UK
 
Pubic Engagement & Press