Gabi is interested in the mechanisms controlling the maintenance of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes in mature neurons towards a better understanding of neurodegenerative disease and neuronal ageing.
DNA damage due to endogenous genotoxic stress contributes to reduced gene expression in the human brain after age 40 including down-regulation of many genes that play integral roles in synaptic plasticity, calcium-mediated signalling and synaptic vesicle release and recycling. Accumulation of genomic instability may compromise systems that allow synaptic function and neuronal survival, leading to compensatory stress responses in the aged cortex.
Gabi is interested in understanding the endogenous processes and lesions (oxidative damage, alkylating damage etc.) that contribute to the formation and accumulation of genomic instability, how DNA damage response is wired in the mature neurons to respond to such insults and control the cell cycle arrest, damage repair and the signalling to cell death.
Understanding these processes can yield vital information aimed at discovering therapeutic approaches that can protect the ageing neurons.