ESR12: Despoina Charou
In vitro and in vivo effects of new synthetic and natural compounds on neural stem cells and adult neurogenesis in Alzheimer's Disease.
Synthetic and natural neurotrophin mimetics will be tested on specific neurotrophin-dependent cellular populations. The molecular mechanisms and functions leading to an increase in adult neurogenesis through the induction of endogenous neural stem cells proliferation and survival, which is affected in AD will be assessed. The main focus will be put on the neurorestorative and neurogenic effect of newly synthesized compounds, a role that up to now is highly associated with the effects of endogenous neurotrophins.
B8: Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Greece
Prof. Achilleas Gravanis, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas
After Despoina completed her undergraduate studies in Biology in the University of Athens, She decided to pursue an MSc by research in Biomedical Sciences in the University of Edinburgh. During this time, Despoina carried out two research projects, working with various molecular and cellular techniques including neuronal culture, stem cell culture and differentiation protocols, luciferase reporter assays, CRISPR-Cas9 genetic engineering, molecular cloning, microscopy, immunostaining and western blotting. Following that, in the past two and a half years, she was very pleased to work in the department of Clinical Neurosciences of the University of Oxford. Initially, she was part of the StemBANCC project team, working on stem cell reprogramming towards the aim of producing high quality induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for drug discovery studies. Complementary on these studies, Despoina then joined a collaborative project between the departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Psychiatry of the University of Oxford. Taking in advantage the previously generated stem cell lines, she looked into the expression and role of voltage gated calcium channels in iPSC-derived cortical neurons. Her various roles in these posts included the processing of patient samples, culturing fibroblast and erythroblast lines, running reprogramming protocols to produce iPSC lines, expansion, passaging and storage of the reprogrammed cells, as well as running quality controls on the final lines, such as molecular analyses (SNIP) and cell morphology tests (FACS). Finally, she has experience in cortical neuron differentiation and culturing.