Simon Donnelly MRes

Simon Donnelly

Research Interests

My research relates to alterations of Purkinje cell dendritic morphology and electrical activity in a mouse model of spinocerebellar ataxia type 5 (SCA5). In order to develop treatments for SCA5 and other late-onset degenerative diseases, it is important to determine whether these changes are connected, and especially whether any of the differences during development underlie the later onset of symptoms.

Currently I am investigating differences in development of Purkinje cell planar morphology between wild-type and SCA5 model mice (beta-III spectrin knockouts). To this end I will be using confocal microscopy of Purkinje cells and parallel fibres (which are aligned at right-angles to Purkinje cells), followed by morphological analysis of reconstructed dendritic trees. This will aid in understanding the role of beta-III spectrin in the development of the cerebellar cortex, as well as how the loss of beta-III spectrin might lead to disease symptoms.

I am also interested in combinatorics, graph theory, graph algorithms, procedural content generation for games, and multi-agent systems. I am currently tutoring Fundamentals of Pure Mathematics in the School of Mathematics, which involves elementary group theory and real analysis.