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Aurimas, Owen and Kamuran (left to right, back) with Dr Oguro-Ando (front left) and Dr Rosie Bamford (front right)

Medicine students' work published in international science journal

Two Medicine students have contributed to research published in an international scientific journal.

Two students from the University of Exeter Medical School have worked on a scientific paper which has been published in Neuroscience, a well-respected international journal.

Kamuran Akkus, a 2nd year Medicine student, and Aurimas Kudzinskas, a 3rd year Medicine student, were part of a group of students who undertook a 10 week laboratory placement with Dr Asami Oguro-Ando this summer. The pair had no laboratory experience prior to the placement.

Dr Oguro-Ando’s research aims to further our understanding of the molecules, cells and circuits that underlie neurodevelopmental disorders affecting mental health. Kamuran and Aurimas worked as part of Dr Oguro-Ando’s team to research a gene associated with Autism spectrum disorder.

Findings from the paper, CD38 is required for dendritic organisation in visual cortex and hippocampus, suggested that a certain gene called CD38 is implicated in the development of brain areas associated with social behaviour. This type of research is key to expanding our understanding of the brain and behaviour, as well as relatively common conditions such as Autism spectrum disorder, which affects 1 in 100 people in the UK.

Aurimas said: “In doing this project I learnt more about the process involved in translational research. I found it challenging at some points, but also very rewarding. We were using very sophisticated microscopes to take 3 dimensional images of neurons from a mouse brain in order to analyse their shape and structure.”

Kamuran chose to do a research project to see if intercalation was for him, and also to improve his career prospects. “Dr Oguro-Ando was keen to develop our skills too: I learned confocal microscopy and also improved my presentation skills under the pressure of questioning from the senior lab members! It was a great experience and I'd highly recommend it to other medics.” he said.

Dr Oguro-Ando said: “I’m really proud of the work Kamuran and Aurimas have done – they have generated high quality results, which is especially impressive considering that this is the first laboratory work they’ve done.

"We are also now working on another paper, which again includes Aurimas as an author, along with Owen Jones, a Medical Sciences PTY student. Kamuran, Aurimas and Owen joined my lab last summer and have done a really great job. I’m sure we will have more highly-motivated students like them joining the lab over the summer again.”

You can access the paper here.

Date: 19 January 2018

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