Dr Maria Jimenez-Sanchez; King's College London
Maria Jimenez-Sanchez is a senior lectuer and group leader at King’s College London, investigating the role of chaperones and autophagy in glial functions and in glia-neuron communication in neurodegeneration. Maria completed her PhD at the University Complutense in Madrid in 2008 and then moved to the Cambridge Institute for Medical research to work as a postdoctoral researcher in Prof David Rubinsztein lab. In 2016, she was awarded an MRC Career Development Award to start her research group and moved to the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute where her lab is currently based.
Neurodegenerative diseases are currently incurable diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. Ageing is the major risk factor in neurodegeneration and with the increase in the ageing population, it is estimated that 1 in 3 people born today will develop dementia or related disorders. Protein aggregation is a common hallmark to any neurodegenerative disease, as a consequence of a failure of proteostasis mechanisms. These mechanisms include a network of chaperones, that prevent protein misfolding, and protein clearance mechanisms such as autophagy. Research into these mechanisms is essential to understand the underlying factors in neurodegeneration and to work towards effective therapeutic strategies. While mostly studied in neuronal cells, our work aims to investigate these mechanisms in the function of glial cells in the brain and in glia-neuron communication. In this talk, I will discuss our new findings on the role of astrocyte-secreted chaperones in mediating neuroprotection in the context of neurodegeneration, and I will introduce some of our current research on studying differential autophagy regulation in glial and neuronal cells.
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