Valentina Di Maria

affiliated with the university, PhD in neuroscience

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Neurosciences

Keywords

  • CRISPR-Cas9, Epilepsy, Gene Therapy, GABA

Research

The coordinated activity of neuronal circuits underlies the brain’s ability to encode and store information and to carry out cognitive and sensorimotor tasks. However, aberrant changes to neural activity such as uncontrollable synchronous neuronal activity can result in epilepsy, a chronic disorder that affects over 65 million people worldwide. During epileptogenesis, the affected brain regions undergo both modification in neuronal connectivity and deep changes in gene expression. Some of the involved genes express for GABA receptors, which are generally downregulated during epilepsy.

Over the past few years the rapid advancement of genome-editing techniques, including the bacteria-derived CRISPR-Cas9 system, hold much promise for the field of gene therapy. Unlike classical gene therapy approaches, CRISPR-Cas9 system, provide a useful tool for developing a reversible and precise regulatory system for endogenous gene expression control. My current research focus on the implementation of an inducible gene expression technology for the modulation of endogenous GABA receptor expression during epileptogenesis.