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Research groups

Thamali Ayagama

MSc DPhil


Postdoctoral Research Scientist

The autonomic nervous system's impact on cardiac function and arrhythmias is well known. Mainly, acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and chronic systolic heart failure (CHF) result in high cardiac sympathetic stimulation levels, and the Herring group has recently shown that in addition to neurotransmitter noradrenaline, the co-transmitter neuropeptide-Y (NPY) is also released during AMI, leading to larger infarcts, fatal arrhythmias and increased mortality in patients. My research focuses on the NPY expression in human and rat tissue from normal hearts and those with CHF to understand how NPY signalling remodels. Therefore, to control and modify the NPY neurochemistry and learn whether NPY receptor blockers can attenuate the development of heart failure in-vivo. To achieve this scope, I will be applying electrophysiological techniques in addition to imaging, immunohistochemistry, qPCR, assays and several other molecular methodologies.

Following an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Genetics, I completed an MSc in Applied Genetics (First class) from the University of Bangalore, India (2009). I then joined the Centre for genomic and regenerative medicine, Asiri Surgical Hospital in Sri Lanka and worked as a medical scientist under the supervision of Prof Vajira H.W. Dissanayake. I later completed a research internship under the supervision of Dr Holger Kramer in the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (Oxion) at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford. After that, I joined the Burton group at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, to work as a research assistant. While remaining in the Burton group, I completed my DPhil in Pharmacology (2022) under the supervision of Prof Rebecca Burton.