Yvonne Couch

Stipendiary Lecturer; Alzheimers Research UK Fellow

My primary research field is neuroimmunology, specifically how the brain communicates injury or illness to the systemic immune system, and vice-versa.

I undertook a PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Oxford studying the role of the serotonergic system in mediating sickness behaviours. During this time I developed a keen interest in the elusive mechanisms of brain-immune communication and chose to pursue this in the field of stroke research. I obtained a prestigious Carlsberg Research Fellowship at the University of Southern Denmark to work with Prof. Kate Lambertsen on post-stroke depression. As a side project during my time in Odense I worked on the potential for extracellular vesicles (EVs) to play a role in distant organ communication.

I moved back to Oxford to work in the group of Prof. Alastair Buchan, obtaining a number of small independent grants which allowed me to explore the role of EVs in stroke. I am currently studying how EVs might act as injury signals to escape the brain after a stroke. EVs are lipid vesicles of varying sizes, shed from cells all the time, and thought to be a novel mechanism of cell to cell communication. My aim is to study whether these EVs contribute to inflammation within the central nervous system (CNS) after a stroke, but also whether they contribute to the injury signal that activates the systemic immune system.

In 2020 I was awarded an Alzheimer’s Research UK Fellowship to study the effect of EVs on endothelial cells in the context of stroke and vascular dementia.

Publications

Rapamycin Induces an eNOS (Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase) Dependent Increase in Brain Collateral Perfusion in Wistar and Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats.
Beard DJ. et al, (2020), Stroke

Extracellular vesicle integrins act as a nexus for platelet adhesion in cerebral microvessels.
Bagi Z. et al, (2019), Scientific reports, 9

Rapamycin induces an eNOS dependent increase in brain collateral perfusion after acute experimental stroke in rats
Beard DJ. et al, (2019), JOURNAL OF CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW AND METABOLISM, 39, 135 - 136

Rapamycin in ischemic stroke: Old drug, new tricks?
Hadley G. et al, (2019), J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 39, 20 - 35

Systemic Immune Response to Traumatic CNS Injuries-Are Extracellular Vesicles the Missing Link?
Yates AG. et al, (2019), Front Immunol, 10

Distal middle cerebral artery occlusion does not result in depression-like behaviours
Couch Y. et al, (2018)

Where Next?