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Dr Davidson works on inflammation triggered by cell stress, she is particularly interested in genetic mutations which disrupt normal cell processes such as proteasome function and COP-I mediated trafficking. Study of autoinflammatory diseases triggered by such loss of function mutations has allowed Dr Davidson to identify novel pathways that cells use to sense loss of homeostasis and drive inflammation.
Interestingly, over 40% of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) (eg: intellectual disability, autism and cerebral palsy) are caused by mutation of a single gene. A significant proportion of these NDD associated genes are involved in maintaining cell homeostasis. Furthermore, elevated inflammatory markers have been reported in the blood and brains of certain NDD patients. Dr Davidson’s research seeks to investigate the link between genetically encoded cell stress, inflammation and neurodevelopment. With the hope that this will open novel therapeutic avenues for an otherwise intractable class of diseases.