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Dr Susanna Barrett Mierau MD, DPhil

Dr Susanna Barrett Mierau, MD, DPhil

University Lecturer (fixed-term)

College Research Associate, Clare College

Susanna Mierau is accepting applications for PhD students.


Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 746746

Biography:

I am a neuroscientist-neurologist specialized in autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders.  I started my own research group at PDN in August 2018.  We are investigating how cortical networks form during early postnatal development and how this process is disrupted by the genetic change that causes Rett syndrome and some forms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. We work closely with the Neuronal Oscillations Group led by Prof. Ole Paulsen. 

Research Interests

My research focuses on the fundamental rules that govern the development of synaptic and network activity in the cortex and how this process is disrupted in autism and related disorders, with the ultimate goal of developing novel therapies.

I am combining electrophysiological recordings at the synaptic and network level with optogenetic techniques to investigate the cell-type specific mechanisms underlying NMDA and AMPA receptor development, impact on circuit function and synaptic plasticity, and role in neurodevelopmental disorders in acute cortical slices and primary cortical cultures.  I am collaborating with computational groups at Cambridge and MIT to develop novel methods for analyzing the development of network activity.

Collaborators

Prof Ole Paulsen, PDN
Prof Ed Bullmore, Psychiatry
Dr Stephen Eglen, Applied Mathematics
Dr Guillaume Hennequin, Engineering
Dr Martin Hemberg, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Dr Gabi Kaminski, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
Dr Andras Lakatos, Center for Brain Repair, Clinical Neurosciences and Neurology Unit
Dr Madeline Lancaster, Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Dr Una-May O'Reilly, Anyscale Learning for All (ALFA) Group, MIT, Boston, USA

Teaching

I teach neurophysiology and neuroanatomy for undergraduates in the Natural Science and Medical and Veterinary Science Tripos. I also supervise Part II Neuroscience thesis projects for Cambridge undergraduates and graduate student rotation projects.  I have summer-time projects available for undergraduate students who are applying for the Amgen Scholars program, or other supported summer research programs.

Key Publications

Giandomenico, S.L., Mierau, S.B., Gibbons, G.M., Wenger, L.M.D., Masullo, L., Sit, T., Sutcliffe, M., Boulanger, J., Tripodi, M., Derivery, E., Paulsen, O., Lakatos, A., Lancaster, M.A. (2019) Cerebral organoids at the air-liquid interface generate diverse nerve tracts with functional output. Nat Neurosci, 22(4), 669-679.

Brzosko, Z.*, Mierau, S.B.*, Paulsen, O. (2019). Neuromodulation of spike-timing dependent plasticity: past, present and future. Neuron, 103, 563-581.  * equal contribution

Mierau, S.B., Neumeyer, A. (2019) Metabolic interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorder. In Feldman, E., Cameron, F. (Sr. Ed.), Special Issue “Metabolism, Cognition, and the Brain Throughout Life.” Neurobiology of Disease, 132, 104544.

Mierau SB, Patrizi A, Hensch TK, Fagiolini M, (2016), Cell-specific regulation of NMDA receptor maturation by Mecp2 in cortical circuits, Biological Psychiatry, 79(9), 746-54.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.018 [Epub ahead of print, 2015 June 5]

Volkmann RA, Fanger CM, Anderson DR, Sirivolu VR, Paschetto K, Gordon E, Virginio C, Gleyzes M, Buisson B, Steidl E, Mierau SB, Fagiolini M, Menniti FS, (2016), MPX-004 and MPX-007: New Pharmacological Tools to Study the Physiology of NMDA Receptors Containing the GluN2A Subunit. PLoS One, 11(2), e0148129. [PMID: 26829109]

Khurana V, Mierau SB, Dickerson BC, (2010), “Dementia” and Mez JB, Mierau SB, Dickerson BC, “Behavioral Neurology.” In D.M. Greer (Sr. Ed.), Pocket Neurology (pp. 96-104 & 115-125), Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Maalouf R, Mierau SB, Moore TA, Kaul A, (2009), First case report of community-acquired pneumonia due to Tsukamurella pulmonis.  Annals of Internal Medicine, 150(2), 147-8. [PMID: 19153422]

Banerjee A, Meredith RM, Rodríguez-Moreno A, Mierau SB, Auberson YP, Paulsen O, (2009), Double Dissociation of Spike Timing-Dependent Potentiation and Depression by Subunit-Preferring NMDA Receptor Antagonists in Mouse Barrel Cortex, Cerebral Cortex, 19(12), 2959-2969. [PMCID: PMC2774397]

Mierau SB, Meredith RM, Upton AL, Paulsen O, (2004), Dissociation of experience-dependent and-independent changes in excitatory synaptic transmission during development of barrel cortex, PNAS, 101, 15519-15523. [PMCID: PMC524435]

Plain English

Autism is type of lifelong disability that affects the way you perceive the world and interact with other people. This disorder causes difficulties with communication, social skills, and sensory symptoms. There is no known cure for autism; however, many genetic causes have been identified. Our group studies how the brain cells form networks in early life, and how this is process is different in genetic causes of autism and similar disorders. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms of how genetic causes alter brain activity in individual and groups of brain cells to find new treatments for autism.