St John's College Oxford
Dr Hannah Alfonsa

Dr Hannah Alfonsa

Junior Research Fellow in Pharmacology


I studied medicine at Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, before I came to UK to pursue my research training. I completed my PhD at the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, where I worked in Dr Andrew Trevelyan’s lab to study epilepsy. Since then I have moved to Oxford to take up a postdoctoral position in Professor Colin Akerman’s lab in the Department of Pharmacology, which is where I am currently based as a JRF. In 2017 I was granted a Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship to support my research.

Research Interests

I am interested in how inhibitory signalling between brain cells is regulated and how this affects the network activity in the brain.

Currently, I am investigating how the strength of inhibition in the brain is modulated differently during the day and night, and how this could influence the brain's capacity in performing memory tasks throughout the day. 

During my doctoral training, I studied how dysregulation of the inhibition system could lead to brain disorders such as epilepsy. Interestingly, many brain disorders including epilepsy show different magnitude of disease manifestation during the day and night. By studying the physiological modulation of inhibition during the day and night, I expect to understand the pathophysiology of brain disorders further.


The contribution of raised intraneuronal chloride to epileptic network activity, H Alfonsa, EM Merricks, NK Codadu, MO Cunningham, K Deisseroth, Journal of Neuroscience 35 (20), 7715-7726

Cl-out is a novel cooperative optogenetic tool for extruding chloride from neurons, H Alfonsa, JH Lakey, RN Lightowlers, AJ Trevelyan, Nature Communications 7, 2016

Optogenetic chloride loading in neurons: implications for epilepsy, H Alfonsa, Newcastle University, 2015