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Bradley Roberts

Visiting Junior Research Fellow

Training & RESEARCH

I completed my BA in Neuroscience & Biology at St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2015. During my time at St. Mary's as an undergraduate researcher, I worked with Prof. Aileen Bailey investigating the role of orexin in the basal forebrain on cortical-dependant executive functions. For my undergraduate final-year thesis research project, I collaborated with Prof. Brian Mathur at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. My dissertation focused on targeting striatal fast-spiking interneurons in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease using an in vivo optogenetic approach. After graduating, I returned to Brian's lab as a Research Assistant (2015-2016), where I investigated the role of striatal fast-spiking interneurons in encoding action velocity dynamics using miniature endoscopic in vivo calcium imaging technologies (Roberts et al. (2019) Brain Structure and Function), as well as collecting tract tracing immunohistological and patch-clamp electrophysiology data to assist other ongoing projects.

I conduced my DPhil thesis research in the laboratory of Prof. Stephanie Cragg in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics (2016-2020). My DPhil investigated the influence the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, has on dopamine output in mammalian striatum, using electrophysiology and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry technologies. Initial work revealed that dopamine release is under tonic inhibition by a local ambient GABA tone, which critically limits striatal dopamine output through direct action at GABAA and GABAB receptors (Lopes*, Roberts* et al. (2019), Journal of Neuroscience). Subsequently, I revealed that this GABAergic inhibition of striatal dopamine release show maladaptive augmentation in an early model of perkinsonism, due to downregualtion of astrocytic GABA transporters (Roberts et al. (2020) Nature Communications). 

In 2019, I joined St John's College (Oxford) as a Junior Research Fellow in Physiology to investigate whether astrocytes in the striatum can dynamically modulate dopamine output. I am also working within the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre to understand whether there are changes to the biology of astrocytes in the striatum in Parkinson's disease, and how these changes might impact negatively on dopamine function.

Recent publications

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