Division of Neuroscience
Mailbox 6, Level 6
Ninewells Hospital and Medical School
+(44) 01382 383640
Casmira completed her BSc (Hons) degree in Neuroscience at the University of St Andrews in 2012. She is now studying for a PhD in Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews under the supervision of Prof. Verity Brown, Prof. Jeremy Lambert, Dr. Delia Belelli, and Prof. David O’Hagan.
Casmira has experience in behavioural neuroscience from working in Dr. Eric Bowman’s lab at the University of St Andrews during her undergraduate degree, where she assessed habit formation through operative learning tasks in rats. She undertook a summer project in Prof. Keith Sillar’s neuroscience lab at the University of St Andrews, where she looked at staining tadpole skin for nitrogen oxide. She additionally has molecular and biochemical experience from working in Prof. Dieter Wolf’s lab at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, where she studied protein degradation in yeast cells.
Casmira is investigating the actions of synthetic and endogenous steroids that enhance the function of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. The NMDA receptor is activated by glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. Many diseases are associated with reduced NMDA receptor function, which may cause cognitive deficits resulting in memory loss, or attention disorder. By enhancing NMDA receptor function, such steroids may be able to alleviate the cognitive symptoms seen in diseases such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease. Of particular interest is her observation that certain “neurosteroids” made in the brain enhance NMDA receptor function. Intriguingly the levels of such steroids are perturbed in both Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Currently, her studies are using calcium imaging techniques on neurons maintained in culture to investigate the actions of neurosteroids on NMDA receptor function. Subsequent behavioural studies will investigate the putative cognitive enhancing effects of such synthetic and endogenous neuroactive steroids.
Scottish Neuroscience Group Meeting 2013, Edinburgh.
SULSA Symposium 2013, Edinburgh.