Maria Ankarcrona professor of Experimental Neurogeriatrics!
Congratulations Maria Ankarcrona - new professor at NVS!
Maria Ankarcrona, Head of division of Neurogeriatrics, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), has been appointed Professor of Experimental Neurogeriatrics.
Will people understand what you do if I say you are Professor of Experimental Neurogeriatrics?
Well, maybe not if you put it that way, but what we do is that we do research to understand the underlying cellular mechanisms behind neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer's disease mainly.
My research focuses on mitochondrial function in Alzheimer's disease with the long-term goal of identifying new drug candidates - today there is no medical treatment for Alzheimer's disease. (Mitochondria is the "power plant" in cells that transforms nutrition and oxygen into energy used by the cells. Mitochondria also regulate calcium homeostasis and cell death).
To achieve that goal, we must understand why nerve cells die in Alzheimer's disease. In patients with Alzheimer's disease, amyloid plaques accumulate in the brain, and research has been done for quite a while to try to understand the mechanisms behind it. We turn on new stones. Now we also study how mitochondria interact with other parts of the cell, and how the interaction is disturbed in Alzheimer's disease.
How come you began your research within this area?
As a PhD student I studied apoptosis (programmed cell death). After my dissertation I wanted to perform research within the area of diseases and it became Alzheimer’s disease (where the cause is associated with cell death) with Bengt Winblad, one of the most outstanding researchers in the field.
When you do not research – what are you doing?
I have family and children - just to make it work! I stay in the summer house, occasionally do some jogging. It feels great that you - particularly as a woman - can prove that it's actually possible to become a professor too! You have to struggle, but you also need good team players that moves in the same direction, otherwise it would not work.