Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 02/11/2010

Michelle Krishnan

Michelle L. Krishnan, Class of 2008
Kennedy Memorial Scholar, Imperial College London

The Summit in 2008 was a wonderful close to an extraordinary year of my life, which spurred me on to continue striving in my work as a doctor and postgraduate medical training, and my research efforts in Neuroscience.

Research interests
While an undergraduate in 2006 I worked voluntarily at the Robert Steiner MR Unit at Imperial College analysing white matter microstructure in preterm infants. Using neuroinformatics I found a correlation between apparent diffusion coefficients and developmental outcome at 2 years. This earned me the Steven Carstairs Prize from the Royal College of Radiologists. I presented the findings at the Neonatal Society international meeting and am first author on the paper in Pediatrics.

In 2007 I was awarded a Kennedy Scholarship, and I used this opportunity to pursue research at the Computational Radiology Laboratory at Harvard Medical School. There I conceptualised and implemented two projects applying quantitative MR imaging and probabilistic tractography. I am first author of a resultant paper which made the cover of the journal Pediatric Neurology in February 2010, demonstrating differences in microstucture of visual pathways in patients with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. A control subject is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Visual pathways in the brain rendered by tractography of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Work in progress
This includes a second paper characterising development of white matter in preterm infants with fetal growth restriction. In the coming few months I will start a research fellowship investigating the genotype-phenotype relationship in epilepsy. To prepare for this project I was awarded a place on the Cardiff University Brain Research Summer School, which provided an introduction to clinical and translational research methods in Neuropsychiatry. In order to gain the necessary technical abilities I attended a course in Bioinformatics at the European Bioinformatics Institute during which I familiarised myself with genome browsing, text mining and exploring human variations.

Paediatrics is at the centre of debates around the implications of access to the genome, as the focus shifts from largely technical challenges to the ethical dimensions of the application of emerging technologies. In September 2010 I will be starting a combined clinical and PhD programme at Imperial College, which will allow me to develop my clinical and research interest in Paediatric brain science and progress towards being a fully fledged Paediatrician and lead researcher.

Publications

Diffusion Features of White Matter in Tuberous Sclerosis With Tractography.
Michelle L. Krishnan, Olivier Commowick, Shafali S. Jeste, Neil Weisenfeld, Arne Hans, Matthew C. Gregas, Mustafa Sahin and Simon K. Warfield
Pediatric Neurology, Vol. 42, Issue 2, February 2010, pp. 101-106

Relationship Between White Matter Apparent Diffusion Coefficients in Preterm Infants at Term-Equivalent Age and Developmental Outcome at 2 Years.
Michelle L. Krishnan, Leigh E. Dyet, James P. Boardman, Olga Kapellou, Joanna M. Allsop, Frances Cowan, A. David Edwards, Mary A. Rutherford, Serena J. Counsell.
Pediatrics, Vol. 120 No. 3 September 2007, pp. e604-e609

Heat shock protein 27 rescues motor neurons following nerve injury and preserves muscle function.
Paul Sharp, Michelle Krishnan, Oliver Pullar, Roberto Navarrete, Dominic Wells, Jacqueline de Belleroche.
Experimental Neurology, Vol.198, Issue 2, April 2006, pp. 511-8. Epub 2006 Feb 23.

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