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David Walker

Photo of David Walker

While it is well recognised that stress during development and adulthood can have multiple negative impacts on behaviour, brain and physiology, data is lacking as to how the effects of stress at different life cycle stages interact to influence cognitive ageing. 

My PhD aims to address this by examining genetic and cellular mechanisms that regulate the stress and immune responses, how this varies across different life stages and the impact this has for cognition. I plan to use multi-disciplinary tools to study cognitive regions of the brain associated with the HPA axis, how the HPA axis interplays with the immune system and the genetic basis for stress-induced cognitive decline to test the developmental programming hypothesis. I intend to use techniques such as cell culture and next generation sequencing alongside behavioural tests of cognitive function to investigate this in an avian model, the Japanese quail.

I am funded by the BBSRC EASTBIO Doctoral Training Programme under the supervision of Dr Karen Spencer and Dr Sue Healy.

More information can be found on the groups web page Mechanisms of Behaviour.

djw23@st-andrews.ac.uk