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The University of Southampton
Biological SciencesPostgraduate study

Miss Laura Freeman BSc, AMRSB

Postgraduate research student

Miss Laura Freeman's photo

Laura Freeman is a PhD research student, on the SoCoBio Doctoral Training Programme, in the School of Biological Sciences based at the Southampton University Hospital.

In her PhD project, Laura is combining her interests of immunology and pathogenicity to understand the role of amyloid-β as an antimicrobial peptide inside and outside of the brain, its mechanisms of production and fibrilization in the immune response, and how its production throughout life may lead to neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s pathology.

2016-2020: BSc Biomedical Science with a Sandwich Year. University of Kent, UK

Research interests

My current research interests lie in neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease due to the production of amyloid-β plaques. I am particularly interested in the antimicrobial hypothesis of amyloid-β and its involvement in the innate immune response to pathogenic agents. During my PhD project, I will be investigating the mechanisms of amyloid-β production in response to systemic infection using different model systems and how these mechanisms may be altered during ageing to cause Alzheimer’s disease pathology. The project aim is to be able to interfere with the interactions and signalling pathways that promote amyloid-β production in response to systemic infection to delay the progression of neurodegeneration during ageing.

My undergraduate research project was in the field of reproductive medicine in the Ellis laboratory at the University of Kent. The aim of the project was to understand how alternative splicing of the ZFY transcription factor affected its stucture and function during spermatogenesis. During this project I expressed and purified the acidic domain from the spliced isoform, and carried out bioinformatic analysis to identify a motif with the potential to activate transcription in the long isoform and understand its conservation across different species using both gene and protein sequence alignments. I also used bioinformatics to investigate the protein’s DNA binding domain. Finally, I designed primers and carried out site directed mutagenesis to understand how the motif identified affects the function of ZFY.

During my undergraduate degree, I undertook a year in industry at Givaudan UK Ltd where I completed a microbiology research project.

Research project: Microbes and the ageing brain: do host-microbe interactions accelerate age-related cognitive decline?


Professor Jessica Teeling 
Dr Marina Ezcurra (University of Kent)

Funding Agency: BBSRC – SoCoBio DTP

Research group


Affiliate research group

Southampton Neuroscience Group (SoNG)

  • Associate member of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Postgraduate member of the British Society for Immunology

Demonstrator in the School of Biological Sciences

Miss Laura Freeman
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ
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