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Dr Alastair MacDonald

Dr Alastair MacDonald

Postdoctoral Research Associate

 01392 408286

 RILD Building Level 4

 

University of Exeter Medical School, RILD Building, RD&E Hospital Wonford, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW, UK

Overview

Alastair joined the University of Exeter as a PhD student on the GW4 BioMed MRC DTP in September 2016. In Kate Ellacott’s lab he investigated brain circuits controlling food intake in mice, with a focus on how astrocytes regulate satiety signaling. Since April 2020, Alastair has been a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Ellacott lab on a Diabetes UK-funded project investigating whether astrocytes are hypoglycemia sensors and if their activation is protective in situations of disrupted glucose homeostasis.

Follow me on twitter: @ajmacdonald93

Qualifications

  • PhD, Medical Studies, University of Exeter
  • MSc with Distinction, Integrative Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh
  • BSc (Hons I), Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Aberdeen

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Research

Research interests

Alastair’s broad interest is in brain circuits that control fundamental behaviours. Specifically he works on investigating a brain cell type called astrocytes in the brainstem of mice. These cells are elements of neural circuits that control homeostasis and physiology (MacDonald & Ellacott, Physiology and Behavior, 2020). Recently, the Ellacott and Pickering labs discovered that astrocytes in the brainstem were responsive to large meals and were capable of suppressing food intake in mice (MacDonald et. al, Glia, 2020). As a postdoc, Alastair has been studying whether astrocytes sense changes in blood glucose and whether their activation is protective against hypoglycemia in the hope that they may be identified as a target for diabetes therapy.

Research projects

Brainstem astrocytes and the regulation of systemic glycaemia

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Journal articles

MacDonald AJ, Holmes FE, Beall C, Pickering AE, Ellacott KLJ (2020). Regulation of food intake by astrocytes in the brainstem dorsal vagal complex. Glia, 68(6), 1241-1254. Full text.
MacDonald AJ, Robb JL, Morrissey NA, Beall C, Ellacott KLJ (2019). Astrocytes in neuroendocrine systems: an overview. J Neuroendocrinol, 31(5). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

Publications by year


2020

MacDonald A (2020). Defining the contribution of dorsal vagal complex astrocytes to the regulation of food intake.  Abstract.  Full text.
MacDonald AJ, Holmes FE, Beall C, Pickering AE, Ellacott KLJ (2020). Regulation of food intake by astrocytes in the brainstem dorsal vagal complex. Glia, 68(6), 1241-1254. Full text.

2019

MacDonald AJ, Robb JL, Morrissey NA, Beall C, Ellacott KLJ (2019). Astrocytes in neuroendocrine systems: an overview. J Neuroendocrinol, 31(5). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

Alastair_MacDonald Details from cache as at 2021-09-23 05:15:24

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Teaching

Journal Club Facilitator - CSC2006 Foundations in Neuroscience

Supervision / Group

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