Luana Naia

Luana Naia

Assistant Professor
Visiting address: Blickagången 6, 14157 Huddinge
Postal address: H1 Neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle, H1 Neurogeriatrik Ankarcrona, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • My scientific career has been grounded on studying mitochondrial function, dynamics and mitotherapeutics with potential to reach clinical studies. I 

  • received my PhD in neuroscience and health sciences in 2017 from Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal. My post-doctoral work was focused on the study of mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contact sites (MERCS) in neurodegeneration and drug discovery to modulate MERCS. In 2023, I was appointed as Assistant Professor at Karolinska Institutet where I develop my research line which is focused on neuron-astrocyte mitochondrial communication with a focus on Alzheimer´s Disease.


  • ´ Mitochondria are the clandestine rulers of our world`
    My research is focused on mitochondrial function, dynamics, and organelle interplay (mitochondria associated membranes) in neurodegeneration. My current projects intend to explore the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial dynamics dysfunction and their contribution for bioenergetic dysregulation in Alzheimer´s disease. We are particularly interested in studying mitochondria fission, and transfer between neurons and glia cells, with a special focus on the transfer mediated by mitochondrial-derived extracellular vesicles – mitovesicles. We further aim to explore the potential of mitovesicles as a therapeutical strategy and/or biomarker for disease progression.



  • 2022-present: Coordinating and lecturing the PhD course Alzheimer’s disease: clinical features and pathogenic mechanisms (Karolinska Institutet)
    2019-present: Teaching Cell death mechanisms in the PhD course Protein Mechanisms in Health and Disease, from the Clinical Research School in Molecular Medicine (Karolinska Institutet)
    2018-present: Teaching Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration in the Master programme in Biomedicine (Karolinska Institutet)


All other publications


  • Start-up grant
    15 April 2024 - 15 April 2026
  • Mitovesicles: a novel approach to understand and tackle neurodegeneration in Alzheimer ́s disease
    Swedish Research Council
    1 January 2024 - 31 December 2027
  • Innovative ways to fight Alzheimer´s disease: Fluid biomarkers and intracellular therapies
    Private donation from Leif Lundblad Family and others
    1 October 2023 - 30 September 2026
  • Potential of extracellular mitochondria for therapy and diagnosis in Alzheimer´s disease
    Petrus and Augusta Hedlunds Foundation
    2 January 2022 - 31 January 2024
  • Mitochondria on the road: neuroglial crosstalk in Alzheimer’s disease
    StartNeuro – funding for postdoctoral researchers
    1 June 2020 - 31 December 2021
  • Exploring extracellular mitochondria in Alzheimer's disease: from organelle-based therapy to biomarkers
    1 January 2020 - 31 December 2023


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, 2022-2028
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Mitochondria and neurodegeneration, Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC), 2017-2018

Degrees and Education

  • PhD in Neurosciences, Health Sciences – field Neuroscience, Role of lysine deacetylases on transcription regulation and mitochondrial function in Huntington's disease, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 2017
  • Master in Biotechnology, Biotechnology in Health Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 2011
  • Bachelor in Genetics and Biotechnology, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 2008

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