Rebecca Lasalandra

DC8: Mitochondrial genomic instability and disease
About me

I graduated from the University of Bari, Italy with a Bachelor’s degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology in 2020. After that, I proceeded with my studies at the same university, completing my Master’s degree in Medical Biotechnologies and Molecular Medicine in 2023.

Driven by my passion for neuroscience and disease-related molecular biology, I applied for an Erasmus+ internship to conduct my Master’s thesis research abroad. This brought me to the Department of Neurology of the Center for Biomedical Research, Ulm University (Germany), where I had the opportunity to investigate the effect of inorganic nanoparticles in cell lines. In doing so, I gained valuable experience with various techniques, including cell culture (cell lines and primary), key molecular biology techniques (e.g. RNA isolation, real-time quantitative PCR, immunofluorescence staining) and microscopy (holotomography and epifluorescence).

Despite all the effort and progress made so far in medicine, the complex mechanisms involved in neurometabolic disorders appear to be a twisted labyrinth, full of many remaining mysteries. This strongly motivated me to join the MITGEST network, which I am honoured to be a part of now. MITGEST will give me the exciting opportunity to explore genetic mitochondrial disorders and neurodegenerative diseases and shed new light on them.

As a young scientist, I am thrilled to be able to conduct my research in an international context and exchange ideas and views with experts in the sector. Join me on this inspiring scientific journey as I unravel the mysteries of neurometabolic disorders.

About my project

In this project, we will study a mouse model of nucleotide insufficiency that summarises several aspects of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance disorders including tissue-specific differences in mtDNA abnormalities and manifests multi-organ pathology characteristic of common neuro-metabolic disorders. We will apply a wide range of molecular biology techniques and will analyse and integrate “omics” data, coupled with in vivo treatments of mtDNA disease models.