Project Title: Spatially resolved transcriptome profiling in post-mortem human brains of Alzheimer’s disease
Supervisor: Professor Paul Matthews
Location: 7th floor Sir Michael Uren Hub, White City campus, Imperial College London

About Me

I have been constantly inspired by the complexity of the human brain and the applicability of neuroscience to our practical world. I started my bachelors degree in Biomedical Sciences at UCL, and specialised in neuroscience from my second year of studies. I joined Professor Peter Howell’s group for my third year project and worked on a brain stimulation project that applied tDCS over Broca’s region of healthy individuals to investigate its effects in speech processing. This familiarised me with applications of cognitive neuroscience, and encouraged me to pursue my further understanding of the underlying molecular biology. I then joined the MSc Translational Neuroscience course at Imperial, which advanced my neuroscience knowledge on a variety of topics. My great interest in studying glial biology motivated me to join Professor Richard Reynolds group, to work on a project investigating the expression of the neuronal chemokine CXCL13 and its role in grey matter pathology in Multiple Sclerosis. This experience largely honed my wet lab skills and critical thinking. Now at my PhD, I am studying the transcriptional changes of glial cells of different phenotypes, as well as their interactions with pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease, such as amyloid plaques, by using an integrative approach.

Qualifications

BSc Biomedical Sciences: Neuroscience stream University College London (2014-2017)

MSc Translational Neuroscience Imperial College London, Distinction (2017 – 2018)

Research Interests

Whole transcriptome profiling in frozen tissue facilitates the generation of “whole pictures” for cell type identification in context of heterogeneous tissue. I am using Visium, a spatial transcriptomic technique, to recover major biological meanings that are lost in single-nucleus RNA sequencing data, including spatial mapping of cell types, spatial patterns associated with gene expressions and cell states, and underlying cell-to-cell communications. More specifically, our goal is to characterise the changes in glial cell states that are associated with amyloid plaques in postmortem AD tissue.

Contact Details

Email: xiaowen.zhang17@imperial.ac.uk (edited)