A magical mixture of serendipity and initiative combined with my Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics led me to the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at Rockefeller University where I studied the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease. Opening doors to the vast mysteries of the human brain, my stay at Paul Greengard's lab left me thirsty for more interdisciplinary science. That is how I paved my way to Karolinska Institutet for my PhD to study the scar formation mechanisms in the central nervous system in the Göritz Lab.
Last autumn, I coordinated a symposium organized by PhD students and postdocs aimed at creating an interactive platform for Biomedicum researchers. Biomedicum Young Researchers Symposium 2016 (BYRS16) received a lot of attention, with speakers from each of the five departments, posters by students and post docs as well as various biotech company exhibitors. It is expected to continue as an annual event to facilitate collaboration between Biomedicum scientists.
I also contribute to the KI Career Blog as a researcher and act as editor-in-chief to our student magazine Medicor in an attempt to take an active role in science communication. In addition, I frequently answer questions from prospective graduate students and mentor undergradate students about studying abroad, internships, and graduate school applications.
When I am not searching for answers on how to achieve regeneration in the central nervous system, you can find me reading all I can find about neuroscience, life sciences, global health and the planet earth.
Central nervous system injuries include a diverse group of disorders that constitute a major health problem worldwide. Patients suffering from these injuries are typically left with permanent motor and cognitive deficits. This has been associated with the locally formed scar tissue that represents a permanent barrier to regenerating axons. Recent advances in the field revealed that a particular perivascular cell population, termed Type A pericytes, give rise to the fibrotic core of the scar following spinal cord injury. (Göritz et.al, Science, 2011)
I am interested in the dynamics of injury response throughout the central nervous system. My current project aims to explore fibrotic scar formation mechanisms in various pathologies such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, and spinal cord injury.
Alongside, I try to dissect the heterogeneity within the scar forming pericytes both in health and disease using transgenic mouse models and advanced imaging techniques. I believe that this information can be utilized to circumvent the inhibitory effect of fibrotic scar without interfering tissue integrity and to achieve functional recovery through neuronal regeneration.
The more information we gather about scar formation across the full range of CNS injuries, the closer we will be to devise new and efficient treatments.
- Cell Biology Discussion Group Leader, 1st year medical students (2014)
- Cell Structure Lab, Biomedicine undergraduate programs, 2nd term. (2015, 2016)
- Course leader of Cell Differentiation Lab, Biomedicine undergraduate programs 2nd term (2017)
Academic honours, awards and prizes
Dean's List, IzTech 2011
Graduated with a 1st rank in Science Faculty and Molecular Biology and Genetics Department, 2011
AMGEN Scholar, 2010, Ludwig Maximillians Universitat, Gene Center and Helmholtz Zentrum München