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- UCL School of Pharmacy
- Faculty of Life Sciences
Following a DEA (french predoctoral qualification) at the university of Montpellier, Dr Mercer moved to the department of Physiology, Royal Free Hospital Medical School, where she started a PhD under the supervision of Professor Alex Thomson. In 2003, she moved to the School of Pharmacy and was awarded her PhD in 2005. Dr Mercer became a RCUK Academic Fellow at the School in 2007 and was appointed as a lecturer in 2012.
The hippocampus is a relatively small brain area, but necessary for the acquisition of specific types of new knowledge, a form of memory called declarative memory. The normal, highly structured flow of information through this structure is essential for memory acquisition, for the processing of spatial information and for navigation. This flow and the processing of information are dependent on the proper wiring of the connections between nerve cells, or neurones, in the different regions of the hippocampus. Increasing clinical evidence links abnormalities in certain types of neurones with the pathology of specific psychiatric and neurological disorders. Although devastating to those affected and their families, these diseases do not typically result from global and dramatic changes in all types of nerve cells throughout the brain, but from relatively subtle alterations in the numbers, structure or connections made by certain subtypes. My project focusses on a region of the hippocampus, the CA2 region, that is uniquely resistant to damage in temporal lobe epilepsy, but which demonstrates abnormalities early in the onset of schizophrenia and in bipolar disorder (sometimes known as manic depressive illness). These abnormalities involve inhibitory interneurones that control and coordinate the flow of information and the components of an experience that we recognise as novel and/or relevant to our behaviour and which we then retain. Dual intracellular recordings with pharmacology and biocytin filling are performed to study the morphological and physiological characteristics of these CA2 neurones and their synaptic properties.
|01-OCT-2012||Lecturer||Pharmacology||UCL School of Pharmacy, United Kingdom|
|2012||PGCLTHE||Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education||London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine|
|2005||PhD||Doctor of Philosophy||University of London|
|2000||DEA||Diplôme d'études Approfondies||Universite de Rennes I|