Brain injury, including that due to stroke and head injury, is associated with an increased risk of  cognitive deficits and dementia. The goal of my research is to understand the mechanisms by which stroke and head injury cause degenerative changes in the brain which can can lead to dementia.

In 2006, I was awarded a research fellowship by the Alzheimer’s Society to examine the mechanisms by which head injury can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease. I established a model of mild traumatic brain injury in mice which causes cognitive deficits and axonal pathology.  We are currently investigating novel proteins and pathways that are altered in response to mild head injury using a proteomic approach.

In 2015, I was awarded a senior research fellowship by Alzheimer’s Research UK to understand how stroke can lead to dementia.  We are interested in a protective signalling pathway called Nrf2, which becomes activated when the cell encounters oxidative stress, and can switch on over 200 anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant genes.  We are investigating how stroke alters Nrf2 signalling, and determining if manipulating nrf2 signalling with transgenic or pharmacological approaches can reduce neurodegeneration.

The ultimate goal of our research is to understand the pathological mechanisms that can lead to cognitive decline in dementia, with the aim of developing novel therapeutic approaches.