Dr Claire Harwell

University position

Research Associate


Department of Clinical Neurosciences


Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair



Home page

https://www.linkedin.com/in/clai... (personal home page)

Research Theme

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


My research aims to model aspects of Alzheimer's disease pathology using organotypic hippocampal slice cultures from APP mutant mice. By maintaining slice cultures from TgCRND8 mice for several months in culture, the progressive accumulation of Aβ and loss of presynaptic proteins can be observed (Harwell & Coleman 2016). As synapse loss is the best correlate of cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease, understanding the mechanisms behind this loss may serve to identify novel therapeutic targets. Current work is seeking to identify the causes of presynaptic protein loss in our model as well as attempting to rescue this phenotype using a number of pharmacological and genetic interventions.

Further work seeks to examine other neurodegenerative disease models using the organotypic slice culture technique, with the aim of identifying common targets and mechanisms.

Above: Neurite with fluorescently labelled mitochondria. Below: Kymograph depicting movement of mitochondria in theis neurite over time. The Y axis represents time, the X axis represents distance along the neurite. Vertical lines mean the mitochondria has remained stationary, whilst diagonal lines show moving particles. These kymographs allow objective quantification of axon transport parameters.
Organotypic hippocampal slice culture from an APP mutant mouse. Green= Calbindin, Red= Tuj1, Blue= Hoechst
View image full-size (1172x434 pixels)

Research Focus



Organotypic Hippocampal Slice Cultures



Clinical conditions


Alzheimer's disease


Frontotemporal Dementia

Huntington's Disease

Parkinson's Disease


Cell culture

Confocal microscopy


Fluorescence microscopy

Live Imaging

Organotypic Slice Culture

Western Blot


No collaborators listed

Associated News Items

Key publications

Harwell CS, Coleman MP (2016), “Synaptophysin depletion and intraneuronal Aβ in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures from huAPP transgenic mice” Mol Neurodegener 11:44