Journal of Biomedical Sciences

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Marie Pollard

Marie Pollard
University of Oxford, Greenville Neuromodulation Center/FHC, Inc./Thiel College, Antwerp Area, Belgium


Throughout the course of my career, I have amassed a wealth of experience and training in neurophysiology, neuropharmacology and anatomy. While obtaining my D.Phil. in Pharmacology/Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, I engaged in a variety of projects that lead to increased knowledge of synaptic mediators in sensory systems and their relevance for synchronous network activity. My work on glutamatergic mediators of low-threshold versus high-threshold responses culminated in my first publication as sole author. As a D.Phil. student, I became an expert in setting-up and recording from in vivo animal preparations, which prompted the Director of the Medical Research Council to arrange a collaboration with Dr. Gyorgy Buzsaki, a respected neurophysiologist in the field of neuronal networks. The work I performed in Dr. Buzsaki?s lab resulted in the first recording and anatomical verification of an interneuron-selective type III interneuron and furthermore, related frequency-oscillations to the activity of these elusive GABAergic neurons. My postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research gave me additional insights into the induction and mechanisms of synaptic plasticity. As a result, controversial findings regarding Hebbian plasticity are just recently being submitted for publication following extensive reproducibility of results and similar findings from other reputable laboratories. Armed with the knowledge gained in physiology and anatomy, I uncovered changes in synaptic plasticity and receptor expression in neuronal circuits responsible for psychiatric illnesses while pursuing a second postdoctorate through Janssen Pharmaceutica, NV. Further to that, I established animal models that translated to the clinical manifestations of psychiatric disease. Alongside my achievements as a neuroscientist, I have engaged in projects outside of my field of expertise. As a research manager, I set up and supervised staff to run both acute and chronic in vivo experiments pertaining to gastroenterology research. My B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida has provided me with a strong basis in physics, math and a working knowledge of programming languages. As an engineer, I developed and validated solutions for industrial spray applications using the electrohydrodynamic field effect and drafted computer-aided drawings for an industrial wastewater facility. I often make use of my chemical engineering knowledge for product development and testing of novel tools and technologies for neuroscience research. I currently engage in research and development for advances in neuronal recording and deep brain stimulation.

Research Interest

Recent experience as an intraoperative neurophysiologist consultant for deep brain stimulation (DBS) has prompted my interest in dopaminergic modulation of neuronal plasticity. Although DBS has proven to be beneficial in motor illnesses, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. I theorize that physiologicallyrelevant stimulation paradigms during synaptic plasticity may lead to better outcomes. Given the involvement of dopamine in habituation of learned responses, outcomes can be measured by the speed that conditioned responses are learned or extinguished. To detect neuronal characteristics for localized stimulation, I am also interested in developing enhanced spatial resolution of electrodes that measure neuronal network activity. Non-invasive procedures such as EEG are also insightful, particularly when combined with the reversal of emotional disturbances via cognitive bias modification.