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Miss Barbara Frias Garrido
1 Wakefield Street
Miss Barbara Frias Garrido profile picture
  • Research Fellow
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
I have always had a strong interest in neuroscience, in particular spinal cord injury and neurodegeneration. Since my PhD, I have investigated the mechanisms underlying neuronal dysfunctions caused by spinal cord injury and neurodegeneration using animal models. Currently, I am focused on unravelling the potential use of PET radiotracers that could be used to detect early signs of neurogenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Frontotemporal Dementia. For this, I am utilising the skills that I have learnt from my PhD and previous positions and using human post-mortem brain tissue that has been donated by patients to the Queen Square Brain Bank (QSBB). 

I am part of the UCL Neuroscience Career Network (NCN) committee. As a committee we organise many ECR events from grant writing and interview workshops to alternative career seminars for the UCL Neuroscience community. I am also a member of the Early Career Research (ECR) ARUK committee, where I contribute to organising ECR events at UCL and reviewing travel and pump priming grants for the UCL ARUK Network Committee.

Throughout my career as a postdoctoral fellow, I have been committed in contributing to the scientific development of students at the lab. I have frequently supervised and mentor students of different master’s degrees. In addition, I still look for improving my skills as a supervisor by attending teaching workshops.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

After my undergrad, I decided to pursue a masters degree that allowed me the opportunity to explore the field of neurosciences. By joining Prof. Francisco Cruz lab at the Faculty of Medicine of Porto, I was able to study the neural mechanisms involved in the micturition control, and the consequences that could arise upon bladder dysfuntion. During this time, I was offered a research fellowship as part of a European project entititled “Combating incontinence, from basic science to clinical practice”, that gave me the opportunity to work in closely with clinical collegues. Following my master degree, I obtained a doctoral research fellowship allowing me to investigate the contribution of neurotrophins, including Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), to overactive bladder (OAB) using two animal models: chronic cystitis and spinal cord transection (SCT).

After being awarded my PhD in 2013, I joined Dr. Andrei V. Krassioukov group in ICORD, Vancouver, as a postdoctoral researcher in order to pursue my interest in spinal cord injury and neurodegeneration. During this period, I was awarded a grant of the Rick Hansen Foundation to conduct a project that evaluated the effects of chronic high-level spinal cord injury on bowel dysfunction in rats. The findings have contributed to a publication and at the same time, I have assisted my fellow colleagues in their projects with my expertise in spinal cord injury animal surgery and histological assessment.

In 2016, I moved to Prof. Daniel Marcellino lab in the University of Umea. There I had the opportunity to investigate the dynamics of brain structural plasticity during learning processes and the possibility of dopamine as an important link between changes in central myelination and Parkinson’s disease in vivo. For that, I gained experience with the procedures necessary to perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in mice.

In 2019, I moved to UCL and joined Prof. Tammaryn Lashley’s lab as a post-doctoral research fellow. This group holds great experience in neuropathology and has published significantly in the area of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. I joined the lab to run the PET imaging investigations, which would call upon all of the skills that I had previously established from my PhD. We have perfomed head-to-head comparisons of different tau radiotracers that are or could be used for PET imaging in the clinical setting to distinguish between several neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, we are exploring the suitability of the next generation neuroinflammation PET tracer [18F] DPA-714, depicting activated microglia, as a biomarker for early diagnosis and disease progression in the frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). In addition, I am driving an independent project based on pathological observations of the protein SRSF2. The protein has been identified in tau pathological inclusions and has a role in tau splicing. This important observation could have a huge impact on the tau field in how other proteins are involved in the formation of the tau inclusions seen in the tauopathies. 

Teaching Summary

At UCL, I was the secondary supervisor of two MSc Clinical Neuroscience students: one performed a characterization of SRSF2 protein in the different types of tauopathies using post-mortem human brain tissue while the other one was focused on investigating modulating effects of proteins with polyglutamine or polyalanine tracts in frontotemporal dementia. The students were acquainted with microtomy and immunohistochemistry and western blotting.

In 2020, I have also supervised a MSc Clinical Neuroscience student. The student was able to learn lab techniques such as microtomy and immunohistochemistry. However, due to COVID-19 lab closures, the initial project had to be altered. 

Since 2021, I am an acting personal tutor for an MSc Dementia student at UCL. I have also participated and completed the UCL courses to improve supervising, including “Introduction to teaching workshop” and “Developing as UCL supervisor”. I have also marked essays for two of the UCL Division Bioscience modules. I regularly teach immunohistochemistry and cryosectioning/microtomy to students and other researchers within the Queen Square Brain Bank.

In previous positions as postdoctoral fellow and while taking my PhD, I was always keen in demonstrate and training students but also other scientists regarding animal surgery (intrathecal implantation of a silicon catheter, cystometry procedures and spinal cord transection), immunohistochemistry, Western Blotting and tissue sectioning.

19-MAY-2019 Postdoctoral Fellow Department Neurodegenerative Diseases Queen Square Brain Bank, UCL, United Kingdom
OCT-2017 – APR-2019 Research Technician Centre of Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology QMUL, United Kingdom
06-JUN-2016 – 06-AUG-2017 Postdoctoral Researcher Department of Integrative Medical Biology Umea University, Sweden
02-FEB-2014 – 01-DEC-2015 Postdoctoral Fellow Autonomic Research Laboratory International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries - ICORD, Canada
Academic Background
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