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Sanziana Rotariu

BSc (Hons), MSc

DPhil Student

My research focuses on investigating the neural mechanisms underlying the procognitive effects of 5-HT6 receptor ligands.

The 5-HT6 receptor is one of the last identified members of the large family of 5-HT receptors. It is abundant in the brain compared to the periphery making it an attractive target for treatment of neurological disorders.

Despite the increased interest in 5-HT6 ligands as cognition enhancing agents, the exact neural mechanism by which they work is not yet known.

Under the supervision of Professor Trevor Sharp (Pharmacology) and Professor David Bannerman (Experimental Psychology) I am using pharmacogenetic tools such as the DREADD technology (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) to carefully manipulate specific cortical neuron populations. By using cognitive paradigms I will then be able to explore whether these cell-specific manipulations alter the neurophysiological and behavioural effects of 5-HT6 ligands. This information could be used in the development of next generation cognition enhancing agents.

Before being awarded the MRC Industry Case Studentship in 2015 in collaboration with Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals in Denmark I have graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology from the University of Manchester and an MSc by research in Integrative Neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh.