Rebecca Casterton

Pathway 0+3.5

Cohort 2018

0+3.5 Student

My research investigates a novel mechanism of cell death in neurons, called karyoptosis, which is linked to both autophagy and the structural integrity of the nucleus membrane.  

In particular, I am trying to understand whether karyoptosis occurs in a form of ALS/FTD arising from a mutation in the C9orf72 gene, and to do this I am working with fruitflies, neuronal cells in culture and human post mortem brain tissue samples.  

I did my Bsc in Neuroscience here at King’s College London. I then completed the MRes Brain Sciences at UCL, where I carried out an 8-month research project at the Queen’s Square Institute of Neuroscience, investigating small vessel disease and vascular dementia in a rodent model.    


Pathomechanism Heterogeneity in the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Dementia Disease Spectrum: Providing Focus Through the Lens of Autophagy’, Casterton, R.L., Hunt, R.J. & Fanto, M. (2020) Journal of Molecular Biology, 432 (8), 2692-2713 ,  

Karyoptosis: cell death by degeneration of nuclear integrity in C9orf72 ALS/FTD’ – Presentation at the 2019 Gordon Research Conference on ALS and Related Motor Neuron Diseases, Vermont USA 

Public engagement/other activities

I am passionate about advocating for equality in STEM and working towards an academia where people of all different lived experiences are equally respected, represented and supported so that they can thrive as researchers. I founded and direct the staff & student intersectional equality network ‘Women of the Wohl’ here at King’s, which has been actively running since 2018. Outside of my PhD and work at King’s, I also co-host and produce ‘The Academinist‘, a podcast on equality and feminism in STEM. 

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