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Full NameDr Andrea Kwakowsky
Pharmacology and Therapeutics
National University of Ireland Galway
- genetics, genomics and molecular biology
- physiology and non-communicable disease
- neuroscience and mental health
- epidemiology/population health research
- artificial intelligence/machine learning/data analytics
Neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis)
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Geriatric Medicine
My laboratory has a long-standing interest in understanding the pathology of neurodegenerative diseases and finding novel drug targets and therapeutic strategies. This research focuses on signalling systems, their regulation, and the mode of their action. We are particularly interested in GABA, glutamate and oestrogen signalling in normal brain function, and changes associated with age-related pathological conditions such as Alzheimer`s and Huntington’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. I am leading an integrated multidisciplinary research that aims to understand the underlying pathology of these disorders and to determine whether manipulation of specific neuronal pathways could be part of an effective treatment. This research established the scientific basis for cell-type-specific modulation of neuronal networks and neuroinflammatory pathways as potential therapeutic interventions.
For the full list of publications please visit: https://www.universityofgalway.ie/medicine-nursing-and-health-sciences/medicine/staff/staffprofiles/andreakwakowsky/
The research in the Kwakowsky lab involves studies using invaluable human tissue, animal and in vitro models, and advanced scientific technologies including, the newest molecular and imaging techniques. We work closely with patients and their families, charities, organizations representing relevant patient groups and the Enroll-HD/HD-West Consortium.
Our recent findings on the excitatory/inhibitory remodelling in the AD brain have opened new avenues in the development of disease-modifying therapies and drug approaches for the disease. Currently, my team’s major research focus is on drug testing and the development of a brain stimulation therapy for AD. Through some projects, we aim to understand better the mechanism of action of the most promising identified drug candidates using electrophysiology, fiber photometry, behavioural testing, immunohistochemistry and RNA sequencing. We have also developed a novel cell type-specific brain stimulation approach as a potential treatment to modulate the excitatory/inhibitory balance to restore neuronal activity and cognitive function in a mouse AD model. The focus of the current work is on the examination of the underlying mechanisms of the beneficial behavioural outcomes of the stimulation and refining the protocol to achieve the maximum possible therapeutic benefit and translation of the findings to the clinic.
The proposed PhD project will contribute to the understanding of the pathogenesis of AD and HD in the human brain at the molecular, cellular and behavioural level and/or animal or in vitro models of these disease conditions and also could focus on testing novel drug targets and therapeutic strategies.
We offer a stimulating and collaborative research environment. The successful candidate will join a lively community of students and an inspiring research environment.
I am not an emerging supervisor, but the project might be co-supervised by my collaborators. I currently co-supervise PhD students with PIs from the University of Galway and the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Students will be encouraged to include a mobility element in their PhD and visit international collaborators to conduct some of their research and develop specific research skills.