Ballerini, Clara

8 September 2018
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Clara Ballerini graduated (Natural Sciences) at the University of Florence, she was PhD in Neurosciences, University of Florence, with a research work on genetic aspects of susceptibility to multiple sclerosis with the identification of several associated alleles. On the other hand CB have been also investigating the immunological aspects of multiple sclerosis studying the T cell phenotype in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) cell populations, CB research activity involved also the study of the animal model of multiple sclerosis: experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Recently CB has been investigating the functional study of T cell together with the molecular analysis of the T cell receptor repertoire by NGS. During her post doc at the E209 INSERM (Paris, France) under the direction of Pierre Aucutourier and the supervision of Claude Carnaud she focused her research on prion disease and immune system. During her work at INSERM, she has investigated the role of prion protein at the immunological synapse between T cell and myeloid dendritic cell, the role in CNS during EAE. She has investigated the possibility to brake immune tolerance to prion protein in mouse and she developed a protocol to immunize mice with dendritic cells as a tool for prion disease therapy. Back at the Neuroimmunology Unit of University of Florence, she starts working on the possibility to modulate dendritic cell (DC) function from immunogenic to tolerogenic as possible therapy in CNS autoimmune diseases. She is group leader coordinating different projects and collaborating with several units. Recent studies reveal striking parallels between cellular signaling mechanisms in the immune (IS) and nervous systems (CNS) that may provide unexpected insights into the development, function, and diseases of both systems. Therefore, CB focused her experience, knowledge and skills into project concerning biological and physical properties shared between CNS cells and IS with particular interest on dual role of inflammation, view as a cross talk between the two systems, in CNS during neurological diseases. In this perspective, CB collaborations permit her to investigate the role of histamine and histamine receptors on EAE and more recently on DCs, cell cytoskeleton and T lymphocytes polarization. Furthermore, CB collaboration with Laura Ballerini, SISSA Trieste Italy, widened her research field into nanotechnology, with three recent publications on carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles; both materials placed in a prospective of translation into neurological disease theranostic and into understanding immune central nervous system damage. Finally, CB collaboration with Cosima Tatiana Baldari, University of Siena, and Duccio Cavalieri, University of Florence, permits her to investigate the signal adaptor of T cell receptor signaling (SchA,Rai) role in astrocytes during EAE and new treatment based on miR isolated from vegetables, able to shift dendritic cell activation into tolerogenic one, as therapy during EAE.

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