Cellular Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease edit history
Subjects: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology |
Submitted by: Camila Xu

Dr. Sara Merlo was the first to present her research on ‘Beta-Amyloid and Microglia: Mechanisms for Neuroprotection’. Shun Fat Lau followed with a presentation on ‘The Functional Roles of IL33/ST2 Signaling in Modulating Microglial Phenotypes in Alzheimer’s Disease’. Dr. Maria Grazia Morgese then presented her research on ‘Depressive Like Behaviour Associated with Amyloid Beta: Protective Role of n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids’. Dr. Eleni K. Argyrousi was the final speaker and spoke about ‘Amyloid-Beta-Induced Impairment of Long-Term Synaptic Plasticity and Memory Is Tau Independent’. All presentations were followed by a discussion and Q&A session moderated by the three chairs.

To confidently face the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, numerous details of its complex pathogenesis have to be considered together, including the role of non-neuronal cell types of the CNS, like microglial cells and astrocytes, and the interaction with peripheral systems and co-morbidities. This webinar compellingly suggested that the young generation of neuroscientists will be able to handle the Alzheimer’s disease challenge and that in the near future, they will assist with important discoveries toward the diagnosis, prevention, and therapy of Alzheimer’s and other neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

The details of the included experts:

Prof. Dr. Dmitry Lim is Associate Professor of Physiology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy. Prof. Dr. Lim is graduate of Moscow State University, Russia, and completed his PhD at the Zoological Station of Naples, Italy, and Open University of London, UK, where he studied the role of calcium and calcium-related second messengers in the fertilization of marine invertebrates. Since his postdoctoral training, the role of calcium-regulated cellular processes in the pathogenesis of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases has become the pipeline of his research career. His current research is focused on investigation of the role of glial cells in the early pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neuropathologies. In particular, his group is interested in understanding the role of calcium/calmodulin-activated phosphatase calcineurin expressed in astroglial cells during the pathogenesis of AD and epilepsy. Prof. Dr. Lim is a member of the editorial and review boards of numerous journals, in addition to having authored over sixty publications in highly ranked, peer-reviewed international journals.

Dr. Sara Merlo graduated in Biology with honors at the University of “Roma Tre” and obtained her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of “Roma Tor Vergata”, Italy. After an initial period at the IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome, where she worked on the genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease, she moved to the University of Catania, Italy, within the Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Pharmacology section. She was a visiting scientist at the Department of Neurology, Washington University, in St. Louis, MO, USA, during the summer of 2008. Her research interests have mainly been focused on the cellular mechanisms of dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease, with the aim of identifying new pharmacological targets. Using in vitro models of neurotoxicity and neurogenesis, her research has been widely dedicated to the neuroprotective and neurodifferentiative role of estrogens and the role of glial–neuron crosstalk. In collaboration with other groups, her interests also extend to the role of glial cells as targets in other pathologies. More recently, she has been involved in studies aimed at identifying the role of astrocytes in the blood–brain barrier function. She is the author of numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, actively participates in international meetings, and is a member of the Italian Society of Pharmacology.

Dr. Simona Federica Spampinato obtained her MD degree in 2008 and PhD in Neuropharmacology in 2012, both at the University of Catania. At present, she is a research associate at the same university within the Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences Department, Pharmacology section. In 2011, she was a visiting student at the John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair at the University of Cambridge, UK, where she studied the interaction between tau protein and α-synuclein. In 2013, she joined the lab of Dr. RM Ransohoff at the Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, USA, where she started working on in vitro blood–brain barrier (BBB) models. This has since been the main topic of her research, focusing on the interaction between the cellular components of the BBB, endothelial cells, and astrocytes in such pathological conditions as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis using in vitro models. She has also investigated the role played by microglia in neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation as well as the role played by estrogen and modulators of metabotropic glutamate receptors and sphingosine-1 phosphate receptors in these conditions. Her research on these topics has led to publication of a series of papers in highly ranked journals.

Mr. Shun Fat Lau is currently a second-year PhD student at the laboratory of Prof. Nancy Ip (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology—HKUST). He obtained his Bachelor of Science in 2016 and Master of Philosophy in 2018, both at HKUST. His research focuses on the functional roles of neuroimmunity in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Specifically, he investigates how modulating cytokine milieus—such as through interleukin-33 administration—in the central nervous system drives the functional state transition of microglia, resulting in the amelioration of AD pathology. During his studies, he has received numerous fellowships and awards (Hong Kong PhD Fellowship, Postgraduate Studentship Award, The Joseph Lau Luen Hung Charitable Trust Scholarship, Fung Scholarship, and HKSAR Government Reaching Out Award).

Dr. Maria Grazia Morgese is a Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine of the University of Foggia, Italy. She graduated in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2002 and was awarded her doctoral degree in Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Therapy at the University of Bari “A. Moro” in 2007. Dr Morgese carried out part of her research in England at the Department of Cognitive and Molecular Neuroscience, The Babraham Institute, Babraham, Cambridge; and in San Antonio, at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas, San Antonio, as a postdoctoral fellow (laboratory of Prof. Andrea Giuffrida). Her main research interests include the neurochemistry of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the physiological and pathological neuromodulatory role of beta-amyloid in the central nervous system. Moreover, she is interested in the pharmacological modulation of neurotransmitter systems and the role of oxidative stress in neuropsychiatric disorders. More recently, she also started investigating the preventive role of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in these pathologies. She actively collaborates with other international laboratories (Prof Giuffrida, San Antonio, Texas, USA; Prof Di Giovanni, University of Malta) and has received several national and international awards.

Dr. Eleni K. Argyrousi is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the laboratory of Prof. Ottavio Arancio, Taub Institute, Columbia University, USA. She graduated in Biology at the University of Patras (Greece, 2008) and obtained her M.Sc. in Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences at Maastricht University (The Netherlands, 2015). Dr. Eleni K. Argyrousi was awarded her doctoral degree in Neurophyscopharmacology in 2019 (Maastricht University, The Netherlands) in which she studied the role of cyclic nucleotides in memory processes. After her PhD, she moved to the Taub Institute (Columbia University), where she currently investigates the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in both normal conditions and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. With regard to the latter, she mainly investigates plasticity and memory impairments triggered by oligomeric proteins such as amyloid-beta and tau. Her main research interests are neurodegenerative diseases, pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, tau pathology, memory processes, and plasticity mechanisms.

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