Ms Jill Merlini

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Overview

During my time at the University of Manchester I have undertaken numerous lab focused projects centred around neuroinflammation and stroke with a particular interest in vascular pathologies associated with cognitive decline. I have also contributed to additional projects outside of my degree, collaborating with PhD students to understand the mechanistic aspects of inflammation.

My masters project was supervised by Stuart Allan and investigated the role of the peripheral immune system in neuroinflammation following a stroke with a particular focus on the bioenergetics of neutrophil transmigration across the vascular endothelium. As part of my studies I have obtained a full home office license which has allowed me to do substantial in vivo work including surgeries, behavioural studies and tissue harvest.

I am currently undertaking an MRC DTP supervised by Cath Lawrence investigating the glycocalyx, a vascular endothelial surface layer which is thought to impact on clinical outcomes in stroke. I will initially be using immunohistochemistry to determine the biophysical structure of the glycocalyx pre and post stroke. Later in the project I anticipate using an in vivo model of stroke in conjunction with two-photon microscopy to image the glycocalyx in living animal models of stroke. Finally, I also hope to determine the therapeutic potential of modifying the glycocalyx.

Biography

2020 - present

PhD Neuroscience, University of Manchester, UK.

2016 - 2020

MSci Neuroscience (First Class Hons), University of Manchester, UK.

Social responsibility

As part of my time in Manchester I have also taken part in multiple outreach events in line with the university’s social responsibility ethos which has enabled me to spark public interest in our stroke research.

I am currently on the committee for the Manchester branch of Pint of Science, an internationally recognised science outreach event aimed at delivering the latest research to the general public in a fun and informal way. I hold overall responsibility for the organisation of events and volunteers in the Manchester area. My role involves inviting leading academics to present engaging talks to our audience members.

In 2019 I was involved with an Alzheimer's Research UK day at the Museum of Science and Industry. I engaged with members of the public, both adults and children, in order to inspire interest in our research within the theme of ‘healthy heart, healthy brain’. Organising and leading interactive games to help explain vascular risk factors related to Alzheimer’s and other vessel-related neurological disease helped engage the public in our work.

Areas of expertise

  • QR180 Immunology - Glycocalyx, Neuroimmunology, Neuroinflammation, Matrix Biology, Extracellular Matrix

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2020 - Master of Science, MSci Neuroscience, The University of Manchester (2016 - 2020)