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Neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration
Italy (SISM) - University of Milan, Milan
Pharmacology and Biomolecular Sciences
Prof. Adriana Maggi
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Estrogens as sex steroids are well known for their action at the molecular level and in the regulation of reproductive function, but little is known with regard to their involvement in the activity of organs other than reproductive. Also through the creation of innovative models for the study of estrogen action by means of molecular imaging we and other demonstrated that these hormones have a major impact on the functioning of the cardiovascular, skeletal, nervous and immune systems. Yet, at present we have very little insights on the mechanisms underlying estrogen action in non-reproductive tissues. The goal of our investigation is to fully understand estrogen activities in non-reproductive tissues to identify drugs able to overcome estrogen deficiency in case of gonadal dysfunction and aging. See http://www.disfeb.unimi.it/ecm/home/ricerca/laboratori-ricerca/laboratorio-di-biotecnologie-farmacologiche
What is the aim of the project?
To investigate molecular and cellular mechanisms of estrogen anti-inflammatory action with the final aim to study therapies for the prevention of pathologies associated with inflammatory processes.
What techniques and methods are used?
In our study we use the following techniques: - Preparation of specific plasmids engineered to produce luciferase - Cell biology techniques including transfections, knock down , immunocytochemistry - Bioluminescence (photon emission measurement)imaging of inflammatory reactions in vivo - Flow cytometry of isolated labeled microglia cells - Fluorescent microscopy - Real-Time PCR, Western Blotting
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Multiple tasks may be given to the student depending on his/her abilities: - The student will be asked to help in the preparation and labeling of microglia and in the study of microglia gene expression. - The student will be able to operate quite independently with regard to the study of gene expression by Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction. - The student will familiarize with methodologies necessary to create a colony of transgenica animals, such as preparation of specific plasmids engineered to produce luciferase, the growth of mammalian cells in culture and their transfection. - The student will measure photon emission from alive, transgenic mice to study the activity of the estrogen receptor in neuroinflammation. In addition to performing these tasks, the student will learn how to apply the newly learned methodologies to address specific biological questions that are part of a more general project of our lab, that studies the effects of estrogen on non reproductive tissues.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Seminars and weekly lab meetings.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation - The student will prepare a scientific report
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
No particular skills required. The student is needed to have passed the following subjects: basic knowledge of biochemistry and cell biology.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Estrogen accelerates the resolution of inflammation in macrophagic cells. Villa A; Rizzi N; Vegeto E; Ciana P; Maggi A. Sci Rep. 2015 Oct 19;5:15224. doi: 10.1038/srep15224. PMID: 26477569
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