Laura Smith

Biography

I completed an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences (BSc Hons) and a Masters’ of Research in Neuroscience at Newcastle University. My research interests include understanding the mechanisms associated with neurological impairment, with a focus on epilepsy, in patients with mitochondrial disease. I am currently in the final year of my PhD which has involved a neuropathological study investigating seizure-associated neurodegenerative mechanisms in Alpers’ syndrome

Research Focus

Dissecting the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and epilepsy in Alpers’ syndrome.

Alpers’ syndrome is a paediatric mitochondrial disease characterised by drug- resistant epilepsy, a loss of developmental milestones and liver failure. The seizures which patients experience frequently originate in the occipital cortex and are associated with severe neurodegeneration leading to rapid neurological decline. Using brain tissues donated from patients, my research aims to better understand the potential mechanisms underlying seizure activity in Alpers’ syndrome. My research is focussed on delineating the involvement of two main cell types in generating seizure activity including inhibitory interneurons and reactive astrocytes.

Sponsor/funder: Ryan Stanford Appeal

  • First prize winner of the Gowers Medical Essay Award, International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) British Branch, October 2019.