Dr Laura Ferraiuolo
Research profile and key clinical specialties
The main focus of my research group is identifying the role of glia in ageing and neurodegenerative conditions, with particular interest in motor neuron disease (MND).
Although neurons are the main cell type affected in neurodegenerative diseases, there is overwhelming evidence that glial cells contribute to this process.
My team has developed a number of patient-derived models and research tools to study the role of human astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia in ageing and disease.
Our primary aim is to develop therapeutic strategies using small molecules and gene therapy approaches independently or in collaboration with industrial partners.
We use transcriptomics and phenotypic assays with the aim to develop patient stratification approaches based on treatment response.
Two key publications
- Gatto N, Dos Santos Souza C, Shaw AC, Bell SM, Myszczynska MA, Powers S, Meyer K, Castelli LM, Karyka E, Mortiboys H, Azzouz M, Hautbergue GM, Márkus NM, Shaw PJ, Ferraiuolo LDirectly converted astrocytes retain the ageing features of the donor fibroblasts and elucidate the astrocytic contribution to human CNS health and disease. Aging Cell. 2021 PMID: 33314575
- Varcianna A, Myszczynska MA, Castelli LM, O’Neill B, Kim Y, Talbot J, Nyberg S, Nyamali I, Heath PR, Stopford MJ, Hautbergue GM, Ferraiuolo L Micro-RNAs secreted through astrocyte-derived extracellular vesicles cause neuronal network degeneration in C9orf72 ALS. 2019 PMID: 30711519
Possible PhD projects
- Building multicellular 3D systems to test therapeutic compounds and dissect their mechanism of action
- Elucidate the role of metabolic dysfunction in oligodendrocytes in MND
- Dissect the involvement of astrocytes and microglia in brain ageing
I have held an ERC Marie Curie Fellowship and an Academic of Medical Sciences Springboard Award. I am an active mentor for a number of post-docs who have secured Fellowships or are planning to apply for Fellowship programmes.
Keywords: Glial, ageing, neurodegenerative, MND, motor neuron, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, ageing, disease, Laura, Ferraiuolo, Sheffield