School of Psychology

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Rachel Grasmeder Allen

BBSRC DTP PhD student,



Based at the University of Nottingham, I am a first year PhD student funded by the BBSRC studying in the School of Psychology.

Research Summary

Hippocampal GABAergic inhibition and neuro-cognitive function: the role of GABA-A α5 subunit-containing receptors.

My research will investigate the relationship between hippocampal GABAergic activity and cognitive & behavioural functions, in rats. Reduced GABAergic inhibition in the hippocampus has been implicated in cognitive disorders, including age-related cognitive decline and schizophrenia (Bast et al., 2017, BrJPharmacol). I am building on previous work in the lab group to investigate the impact of hippocampal disinhibition on cognitive functions which depend on prefrontal and subcortical sites. I will also be investigating the specific significance of hippocampal GABA-A alpha 5 receptors for neural, behavioural and cognitive functions of the hippocampus. Alpha 5 GABA-A receptors are preferentially expressed in the hippocampus (McKernan & Whiting, 1996, TrendsNeurosci).

Typical methods of my studies will involve stereotaxic cannula implantation in rats; intracerebral micro infusions of selected drugs; behavioural studies including reversal learning, locomotor activity and the DMTP watermaze; and transcardial perfusion fixation followed by histological sectioning.

Supervisor: Dr Tobias Bast, University of Nottingham

Past Research

Previously, I completed a BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience at the University of Manchester, achieving a first class degree in 2020. My final year research project focused on major depressive disorder and I was supervised by Prof Rebecca Elliott. I then completed a MSc in Translational Neuropathology at the University of Sheffield, achieving a distinction in 2021. My research focused on Parkinson's Disease and I was supervised by Dr Scott Allen.

School of Psychology

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The University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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