Tara Canonica

Research student, School of Psychology

Email:
canonicata@cardiff.ac.uk
Location:
Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT

Research summary

My research investigates the neural basis of learning and memory through  the examination of different rodent models of cognitive impairment. Trisomy of  chromosome 21 is known to cause Down’s syndrome, a genetic condition  characterized by intellectual disabilities. Located on chromosome 21 is also the  gene encoding the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which is crucial in  Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder mainly characterized by memory  impairments. Individuals with Down’s syndrome show in fact increased risk of  developing Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, genes on chromosome 21 play a  fundamental role in learning and memory. Genetically modified mouse models  triplicating different selected genes of chromosome 21 have been developed and  I will characterise the behavioural phenotypes of such mouse strains (Dp1Tyb,  Ts2yey, Ts3yey). By comparing their cognitive deficits and by assessing as well  as manipulating brain activity, I aim to relate specific genes to the functioning  of specific brain regions and eventually to specific roles in learning and  memory.

Teaching summary

2015–present:  Practical Tutor for 1st year undergraduates – Leading tutorials and  marking practical reports in order to develop student’s scientific  report-writing skills as well as knowledge of statistical methods.

Research interests

Research topics and related papers

- Learning and Memory in mouse models of  cognitive impairments (Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease)
- Chromosome 21, Amyloid precursor protein  (APP)

Funding

School of Psychology, Cardiff University (2015-2018)

Research group

Neuroscience, Behavioural neuroscience

Research collaborators

Professor Mark Good