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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

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. Busra Aynekin

I hold a Doctorate in Medical Genetics and Gene Therapy. Subsequently, as a postdoctoral researcher, I dedicated nearly two years of my career to research at the University College London (UCL). During this time, my focus was on non-diagnostic neurological disorders, and I gained valuable expertise in Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) and long-read sequencing techniques. My research extended to encompass mouse studies and functional investigations, which collectively honed my skills and proficiency in a wide range of laboratory techniques. Presently, I am engaged in postdoctoral work on a research project, where I am committed to advancing our understanding of Alzheimer's disease pathologies.

PhD Students

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 3rd 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

I’m a 2nd year PhD student with a medical background. My main PhD thesis focuses on studying aged mice and whether the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease that is caused by the NL-F model is increased with the R47H variant of Trem2. During my first year, I studied how Trem2 R47H variant affects basal synaptic transmission on young pre-weaned mice not having any of the familial genes that lead to AD. This was done using the whole-cell patch clamp technique. Currently, I’m studying how the high fat diet, along with the Trem2 R47H and the NL-F genetic mutations affects the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease in aged mice using electrophysiological field recordings of acute hippocampal slices.

Sneha Desai

I’m a first-year PhD student collaborating with Dr Jörg Hanrieder's lab at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. I currently use molecular biology, histological and neurochemical techniques to characterise and study the effect of amyloid-beta induced tau aggregation in various mouse models. 


Heba Elsallab

I am a 1st year PhD student working in collaboration with Dr Teresa Niccoli's lab at the Institute of Healthy Ageing at UCL. I will use the Drosophila model of Aβ toxicity followed by mouse models to investigate the function and interaction of synaptic genes. I will use a Gene-switch neuronal driver, neurochemical and molecular biology techniques.

Research Assistant

Research Assistants

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Brendan Hajar

I am a recent Neuroscience MSci graduate from Manchester University. I now work at the Edwards lab as a research assistant. My role primarily involves organising the mice used in the research and providing support to current lab members.

Masters Students


Lydie Fenson

I am an MSc Neuroscience student at UCL and I'm undertaking a research project in the lab this year. My project aims to investigate the effects of a high fat diet on disease pathology and the neuroimmune response in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.

Philip Lambert

I am a second-year neuroscience MSc student.  In the lab I study the effects of Alzheimer's gene variants combined with a high-fat diet on the synaptic function of aged mice, as a model for understanding the human condition.  After a career in business, I have returned to science with the aim of contributing to understanding the physiology of learning and memory and how this is modulated by natural aging and neurological disorders.  I hold a first degree in electrical engineering from Bristol University (1982), an MBA from City University Business School (1992) and a PGCE from the UCL Institute of Education (2016).


Georgia Ppasia

I'm an MSci Neuroscience student at UCL. I am  investigating spatial gene expression in microglia in post-mortem human tissue from Alzheimer’s patients using cell-type enriched transcriptomics. For my fourth-year project, I will be exploring the effects of adding genetic and environmental risk factors to mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.

Masters Students
Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Violet Wang

I’m a 3rd year BSc Biomedical Sciences student at UCL currently working at the Edwards Lab. My current project aims to investigate the mouse model for Alzheimer’s tauopathy regarding the phosphorylation state of tau and its correlation with other cell types and organelles. I will continue this research at the Edwards Lab for my final year research project.



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 Takshashila Tripathi

Dr Sevda Boyanova

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

Dr 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

Lilly Gould

Aya Balbaa

Masters Students - MSc

Anna Pangilinan

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

Masters Students - MPhil

Mario Mazzantini

Masters Students - MRes

Ridwaan Joghee

Integrated Masters Students - Msci

Eugenia Wong

Mila Redzic

Peipeng Lin

Dhaval Joshi

Lianne Baffour-Awuah

Natalie Wong

Vicky Smith

Kieran Nair

Barbara Lechnicka

Placement Students

Oriane Onimus

Tom Hagley

Giorgos Sideris

Eda Karakaya

Aygun Badalova

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