Finding the Perfect Dose

Yasmin Malik was born in Tzaneen, Limpopo and moved to Durban in 2017 to start her honours degree in Medical Science with supervisor Dr Lihle Qulu (DRILL Fellow). She expanded on her honours work in 2018 with Dr Qulu, by doing a master’s in Medical Science, Human Physiology stream, specializing in neuroscience. For her study, she aimed to determine the most effective dose of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and kainic acid (KA) to induce seizures in 14-day-old rats. She then compared this modified LPS-KA model with a hyperthermia seizure model, all while assessing the effects of prenatal stress on the hypothalamus. Her study was able to effectively lower the literature-prescribed doses of both LPS and KA, resulting in successful febrile seizures with a high mortality rate. They also found that stress significantly up-regulated the fever-inducing prostaglandin receptor (EP3R), while down-regulating the prostaglandin (PGE2). This finding contradicted some previous studies, but the researchers speculate that stress initially led to an increased production of prostaglandins, ultimately leading to their greater net efflux out of brain tissue, thus explaining the up-regulation in its receptor.

Medical Science, Human Physiology graduate Yasmin Malik, supervised by Dr Lihle Qulu (DRILL Fellow)

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