The Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) is seeking to advance science through the NIBR Global Scholars Program (NGSP). This competitive program supports projects focused on novel science with the objective of being translated to drug discovery and/or clinical research. Magdalini Polymenidou has been selected for the NGSP 2022 and will receive up to 1 mil USD funding over three years along with scientific expertise from NIBR collaborators.
Magdalini Polymenidou researches the molecular mechanisms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), two heterogeneous and fatal neurodegenerative diseases. ALS and FTD are characterized by the aggregation of corrupted proteins within cells of the nervous system that malfunction and die. These protein accumulations spread from cell to cell as the disease progresses, causing more and more damage in the brain.
In ALS and FTD, the accumulations contain an essential protein that cells need to control how RNA molecules are processed. The NGSP-funded project aims to understand how human cells are affected by these protein accumulations and how the gradual buildup of misprocessed RNA molecules makes cells vulnerable to these processes.
A cell culture system mimicking the human brain environment, which has recently been developed by the Polymenidou lab, will be used as part of the multidisciplinary approach the research team applies to understand involved mechanisms and hopefully inspire rational design of target-based therapies.
Photo: Magdalini Polymenidou (by Pascal Halder www.naturphotos.ch)