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Professor Frances Edwards



Australian National University

Max Plank Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Gottingen, Germany

PhD, Neurophysiology | 1990                                                           


University of Sydney

MSc, Pharmacology | 1984​


University of Sydney

BSc Hons, Pharmacology | 1980


Frances Edwards graduated in Pharmacology at the University of Sydney, Australia and received her PhD whilst working at the Max-Planck Institute in Germany under the Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Bert Sakmann. After staying on as a postdoctoral fellow in Sakmann's lab, in 1990 she joined David Colquhoun’s group in Pharmacology at UCL as a Wellcome European Fellow. After returning to Australia in 1992 Frances held a Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellowship at the University of Sydney from 1993 until 1996. In 1996 she joined the Department of Physiology at UCL. Until 2010 the focus of the Edwards lab was mechanisms of fast synaptic transmission and the role of dendritic spines in plasticity using electrophysiology and confocal imaging. In 2010 the research direction largely shifted to research on Alzheimer's disease, studying several transgenic mouse models of human mutations in the amyloid pathway or microtubule-associated protein tau. Recently improved knock-in models have been developed and these are now the focus of the lab.


In 1997, Frances Edwards and Maria Fitzgerald set up the MSc Neuroscience at UCL which Edwards then ran with a series of other colleagues until 2013. This is a highly academic research-based degree exposing about 40 students per year to the most recent neuroscience research from across the whole of UCL in the form of research seminars, journal clubs and an extensive research project. Now relieved of this major administrative and teaching load, Frances Edwards continues to contribute to the undergraduate, Masters and PhD courses in Neuroscience, particularly concentrating on the the practical lab experience and library research of undergraduate and graduate students.

Interests Beyond UCL:

Frances Edwards has always been actively interested in issues of the natural environment and now works from home much of the time dividing her time between the Essex coast on the River Crouch and the west coast of Ireland where she and her husband grow trees and are proud to be protecting an old forest on their land on the River Roughty in co. Kerry. They also enjoy sailing on the Irish coast. Other interests include making pottery and in recent years wood turning.

Postdoctoral Researchers

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Dr. Damian Cummings

I use single cell and field electrophysiology complemented with fluorescent immunohistochemistry, confocal imaging and behavioural approaches to understand the interactions of neurones and microglia to the development of early Alzheimer's disease pathologies. I am also involved with teaching in both the lab and classroom environments.

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Dr. Takshashila Tripathi

I am molecular biologist postdoc working on a Cure-Alzheimer's funded research project studying the genome-wide transcriptomic analysis in the latest APPKI mice model with and without heterozygous human Tau (KI) from 2 to 24 months. We correlate changes in gene expression and development of pathology and also investigate the differences caused by the presence of human Tau investigating development of plaques and the interaction with human Tau, to assess Aβ-induced Tau pathology.
One of my roles is supervising students in the lab.

Postdoctoral Researchers

PhD Students


Jack Wood

Throughout my masters and research assistant roles at the Edwards Lab, I focused on using techniques of molecular biology to characterise the microglial response to rising amyloid pathology in APP knock-in mice. Now as a 2nd year PhD student, I use techniques of neurochemistry and molecular biology to assess the interaction of microglia and Alzheimer’s risk genes with varying plaque composition and age. I work in collaboration with Dr Jörg Hanrieder's Neurochemistry group at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abdulaziz Aljawder

1st year PhD student. Research: Studying the role of astrocytes in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. A great deal of work has concentrated on the role of microglia in relation to plaque deposition and development and synaptic transmission, but little is understood about how these changes affect astrocytes. We hypothesis that astrocytes may play an important role in compensating for microglial dysfunction as plaques develop. The role of astrocytes will be studied in the most advanced mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, combining rising amyloid beta with other known human risk factors for the disease: age, microglial mutations and obesity, using gene expression analysis, immunohistochemistry, molecular techniques and electrophysiology.

PhD Students

Research Assistants


Sneha Desai

I’m a recent BSc Biomedical Sciences graduate from UCL and am working as a research assistant in the lab. I’m currently involved in a project which aims to evaluate how Aβ-induced changes in gene expression and pathological development will be exacerbated when additional risk factors, either genetic (Trem2) or environmental (obesity), are added to APP knock-in mice. 

Lily Gould

I am a Neuroscience MSc student at UCL currently working as a technician in the lab. My role primarily involves organising the mice used in the research and providing support to current lab members. I will be starting my research project in the Edwards' lab next year. 

Aya Balbaa

I am a recent Neuroscience MSc graduate, now working in the Edwards' lab as a research assistant. My research project uses my previous experience in bioinformatics to analyse novel spatial transcriptomics data in knock-in mice models of Alzheimer's disease. Results from this analysis will guide future wet-lab validation experiments.

Masters Students

Anna Pangilinan

I’m an Msc Neuroscience student at UCL and I’m conducting a research project in the lab this year. In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, I’ll be investigating changes in neuronal gene expression around Aβ plaques and how those expression changes relate to dendritic spine pathology.

Philip Lambert

Philip is a part-time MSc neuroscience student and also lectures at a business school. He has a first degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Bristol University, an MBA from City University Business School (now Bayes Business School) and a PGCE from the UCL Institute of Education specialising in physics with mathematics. Philip’s objective at the Edwards' Lab is to gain a good lab-based background in neuroscience before starting project work in 2023.

Barbara Lechnicka

I’m a 4th year MSci Pharmacology student at UCL and I have joined Edward’s lab this year to conduct research for my Master’s laboratory project. My main aim will be to look at the differences in spine density and morphology between naive wildtype and Alzheimer APP knock-in mice, as well as after chemically inducing LTP in their hippocampi. 

Research Assistant
Masters Students
Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Prishaa Kaur Bhurrji

I am a third-year BSc Biomedical Sciences Student at UCL. I am currently working on my research project in the Edwards lab. My project focuses on investigating mechanisms of LTD in 18-month-old wild type and NLF mice by using field potential recordings.

Visiting Scientists

Visiting Scientists

Deeksha Tripathi

I am a visiting scientist at the Edwards Lab. I will be working on a project investigating the protective effects of the saprophytic Mycobacterium indicus pranii on the brain of AD mouse models. This is due the mycobacteriums immunomodulatory and antitubercular properties. The project is funded by SERB, Government of India. I am a faculty member of the Department of Microbiology, Central University of Rajasthan, India. Here, I am involved with teaching in both the lab and classroom in India.


Dr. Jörg Hanrieder - Associate Professor in the Dept. Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University

Prof. John Hardy - Chair of the Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UCL

Dr Jeffrey N Savas - Assistant Professor of Neurology (Behavioral Neurology)Medicine (Nephrology and Hypertension) and Pharmacology, Norwestern University

Dr. John G Hardy - Senior Lecturer in Materials Chemistry, Department of Chemistry & Materials Science Institute, Lancaster University

Prof. Tammaryn Lashley - Professor of Neuroscience, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UCL

Dr. Dervis Salih - Senior Research Associate, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UCL

Dr Sevinc Bayram - Bioinformatician, Hitatchi Rail Europe Ltd

Professor Lion Shahab - Institute of Epidemiology and Health, UCL 




Dr Dervis Salih

Dr Sue Robertson

Dr Hemai Parthasarathy 

Dr Roberta Donato

Dr Anna De Simoni

Dr Dietlind Koch

Dr Marina Yasvoina

Dr Lily Yu

PhD Students

Dr Katie Stringer

Dr Karina Vitanova

Dr Diana Pamela Benitez

Jonathan Brenton

Dr Wenfei Liu

Dr Tiffany Benway

Dr Zelah Joel

Dr Peter Haslehurst

Dr Joshua Paulin

Dr Caroline Mestrallet

Dr Isabel Dean

Dr Stephanie Parsley

Dr Gareth Price

Research Assistants

Rui Wang

Shenyi Jiang

Ms Rivka Steinberg

Dr Angelo Tedoldi

Masters Students - MSc

Darcey Kirwin

Nazar Stasyuk

Megan Watts

Charlotte Carver

Dimitra Sokolova

Aishwarya Pathak

Martha Roberts

Philippa Rosewell

Oriane Tasou

Chloe Hall

Carlijn Peerboom

Pablo Izquierdo Garrudo

Tatsuya Manabe

Bridget Taxy

Evelyn Medewar

Monica Maria Fernandes Freitas

Gaukhar Baidildinova

Patricia Pascual Vargas

Fabia Maroni

Sophie Tunstall-Behrens

Alexandre Gilles

Evans Ohenhen Asowata

Shabinah Sahar Ali

Kenrick Yap

Ejiro Okorodudu

Thomas Moens

Chrysia-Maria Pegasiou

Integrated Masters Students - Msci

Eugenia Wong

Mila Redzic

Peipeng Lin

Dhaval Joshi

Lianne Baffour-Awuah

Natalie Wong

Vicky Smith

Kieran Nair

Placement Students

Georgia Ppasia 

Oriane Onimus

Tom Hagley

Giorgos Sideris

Eda Karakaya

Aygun Badalova

Masters Students - MPhil

Mario Mazzantini

Masters Students - MRes

Ridwaan Joghee

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