Kennedy Institute researcher Mariana Borsa has been awarded a prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship to further develop her research at the boundary between cell biology and immunology.
The two-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Individual Fellowship (MSCA – IF) will support Mariana's study into the role of autophagy, a pathway responsible for degradation and recycling of cellular components, in the differentiation of healthy blood cells (the hematopoietic system). The haematopoietic system relies on the potential of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to self-renew and differentiate into all lineages of mature blood cells, and degradation pathways play relevant roles in fate determination.
Commenting on the award, Mariana said: "I plan to test the hypothesis that autophagy has an early impact on haematopoiesis, determining the decision between maintenance of stem cells and fate commitment (differentiation) in HSCs. My efforts will particularly focus on understanding how asymmetric inheritance of autophagy during cell division influences cell fate. I hope modulation of this mechanism can be a target for future therapeutic use in humans, especially in the context of regenerative medicine and ageing. I am absolutely honoured to be a Marie Curie Fellow, and also sure this fellowship will boost my career development towards becoming an independent scientist."
Mariana will undertake the project under the guidance of Prof. Katja Simon, a pioneer in the field of autophagy in the haematopoietic system, and will have Prof. Sten Eirik Jacobsen (Karolinska Institute) and Prof. Pekka Katajisto (University of Helsinki) as collaborators.