Neurology Central

Expert Panellist: Katerina Akassoglou

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Katerina Akassoglou

Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institutes; Professor of Neurology, University of California San Francisco (both CA, USA)

Dr Akassoglou has pioneered studies in the investigation of vascular and immune mechanisms in neurologic diseases, and in particular the role of the blood clotting factors in CNS autoimmunity, trauma and neurodegeneration. Her aim is to understand the mechanisms that control the communication between the brain, immune and vascular systems with the ultimate goal to design novel therapies for neurologic diseases – and in particular, multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr Akassoglou identified blood clotting factors as major mediators of neurologic disease. She made the unanticipated discovery that the blood clotting factor fibrinogen is a major activator of innate immune responses in the CNS. She developed novel imaging tools to study the neurovascular interface and therapeutic strategies to protect from neuroimmune diseases by blocking the damaging effects of blood factors in the brain without affecting their beneficial effects in blood clotting. Dr Akassoglou takes a multifaceted approach to her research, incorporating animal modeling, in vivo two-photon microscopy, drug discovery, preclinical translational research, and biomarker studies. Her laboratory is a fertile training ground for junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and medical students. Dr Akassoglou has published over 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals and she is active in several national and international organizations, editorial boards and funding agencies.

Dr. Akassoglou was awarded by the White House the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), “the highest honor bestowed by the US government on outstanding early-career scientists and engineers”, the John J. Abel Award from the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) for “original and outstanding research contributions in pharmacology”, and The Marilyn Hilton Award for Innovation in MS Research by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. She has also received the Dana Foundation Award in Brain and Immunoimaging and a EUREKA (Exceptional Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) award and the R35 Research Program Award from NINDS.

Dr Akassoglou earned a BSc degree in biology and a PhD in neurobiology at the University of Athens, Greece. She was trained in neuropathology at the University of Vienna (Austria) before performing her postdoctoral work at the Rockefeller University, and New York University (both NY, USA). She started her laboratory as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego (CA, USA) where she was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. She is now a Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, and a Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (CA, USA). She is also the founder and Director of the Gladstone Center for In Vivo Imaging Research (CA, USA), Associate Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, and Secretary/Treasurer of the Molecular Pharmacology Division of ASPET.

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