Prof. Mike Cousin has been awarded an Investigator Award in Science by The Wellcome Trust.
This is a 5 year award totalling £1.78 million which will allow the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre to recruit 4 new research scientists in addition to state of the art equipment that will be used to both visualise and record neuronal activity.
The programme of work will study the role of activity-dependent bulk endocytosis (ADBE) in the control of brain function. Brain cells connect with each other through the release of chemicals. To maintain efficient correct brain signalling, this release process must be sustained and ADBE is a unique way of to achieve this. ADBE is exclusively triggered during intense neuronal activity, for example during a seizure, meaning it could be a key target to restore normal brain function in individuals with epilepsy. Therefore the long-term goal of the research is to identify novel interventions that will alter communication exclusively in brain cells firing at high activity.
This grant will exploit a series of new molecules that are unique to ADBE, which have recently been identified by the Cousin laboratory, to determine its role in the control of brain function for the first time. These new insights will allow us explore how ADBE impacts on mammalian physiology at the level of individual molecules, single cells, networks of neurones and ultimately animal behaviour – which will, hopefully, identify mechanisms that will be targets for new epilepsy treatments!
By understanding how ADBE controls brain function, we hope to be able to correct aberrant high brain activity while leaving normal brain function unperturbed. Such an outcome will reveal new therapeutic avenues to treat disorders of neuronal firing such as epilepsy. Professor Mike Cousin