Jagriti

The first BBDiag residential workshop titled “Multidisciplinary foundation courses for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) diagnosis” took place on 11th – 15th September 2017. Nine recruited Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and all the supervisors met at the beautiful bay campus of Swansea University, Wales, UK. Three more ESRs who have been appointed but unable to attend also joined the workshop online.

On the first day of workshop, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Richard B. Davies, delivered the opening statement. In his welcoming speech to the ESRs, he highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation and scientific enthusiasm of young researchers in pursuit of innovative endeavors.

Over the next four days, fourteen subject-specific talks were delivered by the Principal Investigators (PIs) and invited experts in the field of AD diagnosis and biomarkers. The talks sparked the interest of the audience, and there was an active discussion between among the ESRs and PIs. The discussion and the interactions were aimed to provide the ESRs with a common ground for their future research and synergy.

Besides the experienced supervisors, ESRs gave a 10-minute presentation introducing their role in BBDiag project. In addition to the scientific content, the workshop agenda included a few soft-skills talks intended to enhance ESRs’ academic development and employability.

On Friday, 15th of September the ESRs had an opportunity to attend a hands-on lab session in the Centre for Nano Health at the College of Engineering, Swansea University. During the visit of this unique facility, the researchers demonstrated device fabrication and cleanroom semiconductor processing to the ESRs followed by a question-answer session at the end of the tour.

The whole group, ESRs, PIs and invited experts had an opportunity to extend their conversations over regular meals. This, together with the intensive workshop program, gave the newly recruited fellows plenty of room for the ideas exchange on prospective blood biomarkers of AD.

Ms Jessica Janson was born in Gotha, Germany on December 1 st in 1987. She has a degree as graduate engineer in Biomedical Technology from the University of Applied Science Lübeck (2012). Her Masters degree in Medical Biotechnology was awarded by the University of Rostock (2015). In her diploma project she adapted commercial microarray technology for use in micro gravity with EADS Astrium (Immenstaad at Lake Constance), which resulted in two patents. Her second graduate project was developing element and structural analysis methods for Cholesterol and oxalic acid with Celisca (Rostock). She has a passion for combining technology and human biology and found in this project the means to do both.

He was born (1989) and raised in Enugu State, Nigeria. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electronic Engineering from the University of Nigeria (UNN) in 2013 and 2017, respectively. He specialized in Computer Engineering. He had a strong passion for Medical Electronics. He loved seeing
people stay healthy and productive. His master’s thesis was on the development of biometric-assisted unique patient identifier system. After his graduation from the undergrad and completion of the National Youth Service, he worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Nigeria. His research
interests border on intelligent systems and medical electronics. His goal is to apply his findings and skills to developing systems that will aid and promote healthy living.

Arianna Toppi was born and grew up in the province of Siena (Tuscany, Italy). She received her undergraduate and postgraduate education at the University of Florence. She got the Bachelor degree in Chemical Science in 2014 and during the thesis period she was enrolled in the laboratory of Dr. Lucia Becucci, working on the construction of biomimetic membranes on a Dropping Mercury Electrode. The project aimed at investigating the interactions of lipid environments with a peptide structure called CT35 and its tetraglucosylated form, previously developed as a synthetic antigenic probe recognizing specific autoantibodies in Rett syndrome patients’ serum. In 2016, She spent seven months abroad at the CICbiomaGUNE in San Sebastian (Spain), where she worked on a project under the supervision of Prof. Juan C. Mareque-Rivas, whose aim was the development of a drug delivery system, i.e. porous microparticles made of PLGA (Poly Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid) for the transport of anticancer drugs and the assessment of their cytotoxicity through in vitro assays. In October 2016 I obtained my Master degree in Supramolecular and Inorganic Chemistry. Over the years, She developed a strong interest in the healthcare field and her objective is to give a contribution to the improvement of health and life quality of people.  On the 1st of July 2017 She joined the Fluidic Array Systems and Technology (FAST) Group of Prof. Martin Dufva as PhD student at the Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology of the Technical University of Denmark, working on the multiplexing of digital analysis of serum samples for Alzheimer’s disease diagnostics, using microRNA and proteins as target biomarkers.

Ms. Ourania Tzara was born in Athens, Greece in 1987. She is a Biologist and received her Master’s degree in “Applications of Biology in Medicine” from the University of Athens in Greece. Through her postgraduate studies and afterwards, while working at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Greece, she focused on research in the field of Neuroimmunology and in particular on research projects regarding inflammatory molecules and receptors, along with their role in pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease in vivo. Her goal is to contribute in research regarding diagnosis and treatment of
neurodegenerative diseases on the highest scientific level possible and thereby advance medical research.

She was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1985. She received her Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (M.B.B.CH), Ain Shams University, Egypt in 2008 and her Master’s degree in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology from Ain Shams University, Egypt in 2012. Then she started training as a neuroradiology fellow in Misr radiology center (MRC) , where she acquired a considerable experience in advanced MRI Techniques & applications in neuroimaging ranging from MR-diffusion, Perfusion , Spectroscopy , Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI ) both in brain & spinal cord , taskbased functional MRI & finally Resting state functional MRI. Implementing both structural and functional MRI techniques as reliable tools within the diagnostic battery of preclinical stages of Dementia and Mild cognitive impairment is a kind of dream and an extension to the research projects she was involved in in Egypt.

Ms. Soraya Moradi Bachiller was born in Cáceres (Spain) in 1993. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry in 2015 from the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) when she discovered her interest in neurodegeneration. She started postgraduate studies in two different domains, Neuroscience (in 2016 from the University of Salamanca, Spain) and Biology of Aging (in 2017 from the University of Versailles, France). In her postgraduate research, she was interested in two of the most complex biological systems, nervous and cardiac systems. But it was during her graduate research, in 2015, where she found out her passion for the application of systems biology to the study of neurodegenerative diseases, based on the principle that genes and proteins do not act individually, but through complex interactions.

Ms. Marina Selivanova was born and grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. Prior to getting her Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience (2015) at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, she has earned a Diploma with a major in Clinical Psychology at the St. Petersburg State University (2011). In her undergraduate and postgraduate research activities, she addressed the neurobiological basis of mental disorders with behavioural and neuroimaging methods. She believes that the development of new strategies of early biomarker-based diagnostics, would significantly postpone and mitigate the Alzheimer’s disease manifestation, and reduce associated emotional, psychological and financial burden for the affected individuals and their relatives.

Mr. Aronne Bolelli was born in Bologna, Italy on 1990. He received a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Molecular Biotechnology in 2016 from Alma Mater Studiorum A.D. 1088, University of Bologna, Italy. For his undergraduate research, he worked in department of  Specialist, Diagnostics and Sperimental Medicine (DIMES),Bologna, Italy on immunology and cellular senescence  in aging in 2013 and in Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program (PEBC-IDIBELL),Barcelona, Spain on epigenetic and genetic mechanism involved in cancer diseases  in 2016. During his college career he gained research experience on recombinant DNA technology, gene silencing, epigenetics, steam cells and the most common techniques of cell culture and molecular biology. His fields of interest are particularly focused on study designs and analyses for biomarker research, telomerase activity, gene therapy and telomere shortening associated with human degenerative diseases and aging.

Mr. Michiel Van Bulck was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1991. He received a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Biomedical Sciences in 2016 from the ‘Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)’, Brussels, Belgium. His main field of interest is neurodegeneration and regeneration. During his master studies he gained multidisciplinary national research experience at Sonic Healthcare Benelux (Belgium) and Cryo-Save Labs (The Cell Factory, R&D Unit (Belgium)) as well as international research experience at Lund University (Biomedical Center, Experimental Dementia Research Unit (Sweden)). These research internships with an emphasis on neurodegenerative diseases, stem cells, biomaterials, toxicology and high-throughput techniques shape his further scientific career.