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Dr Stephanie Koch
Medawar Building
Tel: 02076793386
  • Senior Research Fellow
  • Neuro, Physiology & Pharmacology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

I completed a Masters in Pharmacy at the University of Bath in 2004, and subsequently worked as a Clinical Pharmacist in Cornwall before completing an MSc and PhD in Neuroscience at UCL, studying the postnatal maturation of inhibitory processing in the spinal dorsal horn. I was subsequently awarded a Pioneer Fund Postdoctoral Scholar Award, followed by a Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie International Outgoing Fellowship to work at the Salk Institute  where I studied molecularly defined spinal circuits and their role in motor behaviour, using intersectional genetics and molecular biology.  I am now a Group Leader in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, focusing on the specification of task-selective spinal sensorimotor circuits. I regularly present at both clinical and basic science meetings in Europe, Canada and the United States and review articles for both specialised and high impact journals. My laboratory is part of the Institute of Sensorimotor Neuroscience at UCL.

Research Summary

Task-relevant behaviours require sensorimotor circuits to effectively gate and modulate sensory afferent flow in a context-specific manner: reflexes must only be recruited in response to harm, and corrective reflexes only recruited in response to a non-harmful stimulus. Sensorimotor interneurons must therefore integrate peripheral cues from the environment and central cues indicative of the internal state and ongoing behaviour of the animal. This suggests that sensorimotor circuits can be differentially engaged in the behaving animal according to the task, and the central nervous system must be able to learn to adapt to its environment. In my research I use a combination of intersectional genetics, viral tracing, in vivo electrophysiology, and behaviour to understand how sensorimotor networks allow us to effectively interact with our surroundings, and dissect when and how these networks are established in the developing nervous system. My primary research focus is to understand the recruitment and specification of sensorimotor circuits over development and how these subsequently integrate sensory input during movement. I am particularly interested in the mechanisms by which somatosensory circuits can learn to selectively modulate sensory input to allow appropriate behavioural response to environmental cues, allowing intrinsic adaptation to surroundings.

Academic Background
2010   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2006   Master of Science University College London
2004   Master of Pharmacy University of Bath
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