Mr Jonathan Smith

PhD Candidate


I am a PhD student within the Engel lab, having started here in October, 2017. I am originally from England and a graduate from the University of Leeds with a Masters and Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience. I completed my masters dissertation in the Deuchars lab, where I investigated whether stimulating neurogenesis pharmacological could be a viable treatment strategy for Multiple Sclerosis.

Research Focus:

Within the first days of life the neonatal brain is highly susceptible for seizures and, as such, is associated with a high rate of mortality and development of later life epilepsy and neurocognitive deficits. Unfortunately, current treatments have little efficacy at managing neonatal seizures and hence new medications are desperately needed.

My research focus is investigating the P2X7 receptor, a member of the purinergic system, as a possible new therapeutic strategy for neonatal seizures and the development of subsequent later life disorders. My research uses multiple models to trigger seizures in mouse pups. We also have access to many transgenic mouse models that either overexpresses or knockout the P2X7 receptor to elucidate further its role in neonatal seizures and subsequent development of neuro-cognitive deficits.

Finally, we have access to pharmacological antagonists of P2X7 to investigate whether targeting this receptor can prevent the development of later life comorbidities.


Jimenez-Mateos EM, Smith J, Nicke A, Engel T. Regulation of P2X7 Receptor Expression in the Brain. Brain Res Bull (2018) pii: S0361-9230(18)30734-2. Link to paper here.