My research interests lay in understanding the molecular basis of epilepsy and autism. As an undergraduate in the laboratory directed by Dr. Maurizio Giustetto, my research focused in the cellular and molecular defects that affect nerve cells in the brain of Mecp2 mutants that represent a murine model of Rett Syndrome and Cdkl5 mutant mice that represent the murine model of the Hanefeld variant of Rett Syndrome. I have analyzed two different phosphorylation patterns of the ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6) in the brain of MeCP2, CDKL5 knockout and wild type mice at different postnatal ages. My experiments revealed a deficit in the activation of this pathway most likely leading to reduced rates of protein synthesis in different brain regions.
After my master degree, I have been in Lexington, Kentucky, like a Short Term Research Scholar in the department of Neurology at the University of Kentucky, in the laboratory directed by Dr. Franca Cambi. Here I was responsable of the molecular and biochemical experiments aimed to characterize a novel mouse model deficient of a kinase, named GSK3b, which they have found to regulate splicing and cell differentiation in oligodendrocytes during brain development.
I later joined Prof. Benfenati’s lab for my doctoral training, where I currently study the physiology of presynaptic plasticity, and different uncharacterized genes that have been found mutated in patients affected by different form of epilepsy. I hope this works further expands our knowledge about the molecular mechanisms at the basis of epilepsy, and other neurological and psychiatric disorders.
My technical experience was mostly focused on preparing histological samples from rodents brains, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence procedures on brain sections and primary hippocampal neurons, western blotting analyses, RT-PCR and sample examination using light- confocal- and electron microscopy
Elena Amendola, Yang Zhan, Camilla Mattucci, Enrico Castroflorio, Eleonora Calcagno, Claudia Fuchs, Giuseppina Lonetti, Davide Silingardi, Alexei L. Vyssotski, Dominika Farley, Elisabetta Ciani, Tommaso Pizzorusso, Maurizio Giustetto, Cornelius T. Gross. "Mapping Pathological Phenotypes in a Mouse Model of CDKL5 Disorder" - PlosOne (May, 2014).