Alexandra Lautsrescu

Pathway 0+4

Cohort 2017

0+4 Student

I am doing a 0+4 PhD in the department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, looking at the effect of maternal prenatal depression on fetal and neonatal brain development. My project is part of the Developing Human Connectome Project ( ) and involves MRI scans to look at the brains of newborn babies and fetuses to better understand early neurodevelopment.

Doing a 0+4 PhD (as opposed to a classic 3 year PhD) allows me to dedicate more time to personal and professional development and the DTP is providing a wide range of courses and workshops.

I did my BSc(Hons) in Psychology with proficiency in German at the University of Exeter, and continued on to do an MPhil in Medical Sciences at Cambridge University. Prior to joining the DTP, I was a Research Assistant in the Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (IoPPN, King’s) working on a project which used mobile EEG to help improve our understanding of Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and ADHD in a twin sample. During my MPhil at Cambridge, I was part of the Defeat Dementia in Down syndrome research group (led by Prof Tony Holland) and my project was focused on mitochondrial dysfunction as an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome.

Outside of research, I spent some time working for the Alzheimer’s Society as a dementia support worker. During my masters and bachelors degree, I volunteered and worked part time for various organisations in my areas of interest (mental health and developmental disabilities).


Lautarescu, B.A., McAllister, C. J, Zaman, S. H., Sleigh, A., & Holland, A. J. (2015, April). Investigating disease mechanisms and biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down’s syndrome: a study of mitochondrial dysfunction. Poster presented at BNA2015 Festival of Neuroscience, Edinburgh.

Lautarescu, B.A. (2015, February). Disease mechanisms and biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down’s syndrome. Oral presentation at EBI-Sagner-Cambridge PhD Symposium, Cambridge.

Lautarescu, A., Lavric, A., Prepelita, R., & Lambrev, V. (2014, March). Task switching and attention: An EEG study of distraction by food stimuli. Poster presented at BPS South West Undergraduate Conference, Exeter.


Lautarescu, B. A., Holland, A. J., & Zaman, S. H. (2017). The early presentation of dementia in people with Down syndrome: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Neuropsychology review, 27(1), 31-45.


I am part of the team running the (newly started!) Postdocalypse Podcast