A biochemist by training, but with a strong interest in all aspects and areas of Life Science, I graduated from the MSc programme Biochemistry at the University of Ljubljana in 2019, with a thesis on biophysical characterisation and crystallisation of an intrinsically disordered protein annexin A11 in the group of Prof. Boris Rogelj. Immediately after, I spent 6 months as an Erasmus+ intern at King's College in London in the group of Prof. Annalisa Pastore, continuing my research work on neurodegeneration-associated, aggregation-prone proteins such as TDP-43 and alpha synuclein.
Since November 2019, I am pursuing my PhD studies under the supervision of Prof. Gian Gaetano Tartaglia, with the aim of understanding how RNA molecules can influence and modulate protein aggregation. Studying the case of alpha synuclein, a protein involved in Parkinson's disease pathology, we have demonstrated that protein misfolding associated with aggregation can strongly influence the protein's RNA binding propensity. RNA on the other hand can strongly affect the kinetics of the aggregation process. A novel observation, this fact will help with the understanding of molecular pathologies, as well as the development of RNA-based diagnostics and therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders.