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St Peter’s student wins John Potter Essay Prize

12 June 2023


Congratulations to St Peter’s student Gabrielle Cognacq (Medicine, 2020), who has won a John Potter Essay Prize for her paper, Traumatic Brain Injury and Alzheimer’s Disease: The Neurovascular Hypothesis. The prize is shared with Lena Zhu (Green Templeton College) following a record number of entries for 2022-2023.

The prize is awarded for an essay on a clinical neurosurgical, neurological or neuropathological topic, promoting especially the sound use of English and the clarity of expression. This is the second year in a row that the award has gone to a St Peter’s student, with last year’s prize awarded to Remi Sheehan (Medicine – Preclinical, 2017).

Gabrielle shared a brief summary of her essay:

Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury are common neuropathologies associated with progressive neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment. Although these diseases may appear disparate with distinct aetiologies, evidence shows that they have numerous histopathological hallmarks in common: namely, b-amyloid aggregation, tau hyperphosphorylation and plasma protein infiltration. The relative contribution of these proteinopathies to the onset and propagation of both pathologies remains elusive. This review investigates the literature on the role of the neurovasculature and fibrinogen in mediating protein accumulation and neurotoxicity in both Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury. Although further research is needed to establish a direct cause-effect relationship between neurovascular damage and proteinopathies, we propose a novel model of neuropathological cascade, the neurovascular hypothesis, in which increased blood-brain barrier permeability induces a series of noxious mechanisms eventually leading to neuronal loss. Exploring further this neurovascular hypothesis which might be relevant to a variety of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases may help identify new drug targets and develop novel treatment strategies.

St Peter’s is proud to celebrate our students' achievements and congratulates Gabrielle on this notable recognition.

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