Myriam Aouadi, PhD, Group leader

Myriam Aouadi

I received my PhD in June 2006 from the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France, in the laboratory of Yannick Le Marchand-Brustel. My work focussed on the role of MAPK pathways in the commitment of embryonic stem cells in different lineages. I found that p38MAPK is an important player in the early steps of neurogenesis and myogenesis, while it is required for the late stages of adipogenesis. In 2006, I joined the laboratory of Michael Czech at the University of Massachusetts to work on the emerging field of immunometabolism, that investigates the interactions between immune and metabolic cells. During my postdoctoral studies, I developed a method to deliver siRNA specifically to macrophages in vivo. This unique technology allows the study of particular factors expressed by macrophages specifically.  In 2009, I became assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts and used this novel technology to show that while macrophages in the adipose tissue could be detrimental to insulin sensitivity they could be beneficial as well. 

I started my laboratory at the Integrated Cardio-Metabolic Center at the Karolinska institute in 2015. My lab investigates the multiple roles and heterogeneity of liver and adipose tissue macrophages in metabolic diseases.

Team work, curiosity, passion and enthusiasm are the important qualities that I am looking for and found in my lab members.

Laura Levi, PhD, Lab manager

Laura Levi

I obtained my masters in industrial biotechnology at the University Federico II of Naples. For two years, I worked as a technician at the research center of Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics in Siena. Next I enrolled in graduate school at Karolinska Institutet; my PhD focused on the connection between chronic infection and cancer development in vitro and in vivo. I joined Dr. Aouadi’s lab in January 2016 and since then I had the opportunity to work in a very dynamic and enthusiastic group. We are always developing unique and novel strategies to understand metabolic diseases. Our goal is to contribute to improving the patients’ quality of life.

As a lab manager, I provide technical and scientific support in all the different projects.

Cecilia Morgantini, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow

Cecilia Morgantini

Since the beginning of my medical training I had the desire to help people and the passion to understand the causes of their diseases. After a PhD in clinical physiology, driven by the idea to understand more about the molecular mechanism behind metabolic disorders, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Aouadi in 2015.  In Aouadi’s lab using unique and sophisticated techniques allowing analysis and manipulation of gene expression at cellular level, I am studying the interaction between immune and metabolic cells.   I strongly believe that combining basic research with clinical practice will improve the quality of patients’ care and will help to identify new customized treatments.

Emelie Barreby, PhD student

Emely Barreby

After obtaining my Master’s degree in Biomedicine at Karolinska Institutet I joined the lab of Myriam Aouadi in 2015, working as a research technician. My interest was to gain experience from working in a lab using state of the art techniques such as RNA-sequencing and targeted gene silencing. During this experience, inspired by Myriam and her research group, I decided to pursue a PhD and register for the doctoral program in 2017. Today, my work involves investigating the phenotype of liver macrophages to better understand their role during the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases by using techniques such as flow cytometry, CyTOF and single cell RNA sequencing.

As part of my doctoral training I also have the benefit of working side-by-side with bioinformaticians in the center to get trained in bioinformatics. In this way, I have had the opportunity to gain knowledge of the whole process from isolating cells and preparing RNA sequencing libraries to actually analyzing the sequencing data myself.

André Sulen, PhD, Postdoc

André Sulen

I graduated as a PhD from the University of Bergen in 2016. My project evaluated signal transduction in blood leukocytes as biomarkers for environmental stress exerted on the healthy population. It is well known that environmental cues regulate metabolism by modulating monocyte and macrophage transcriptional programs. In Myriam Aouadi´s group we use cutting-edge single-cell technologies, such as single-cell RNAseq and CyTOF, to better characterize the role of immune cells in metabolic tissues during obesity and development of type 2 diabetes. More specifically, my project aims to characterize macrophages in adipose tissue. Our objective is to increase our understanding of metabolic disease by using unbiased approaches that allow the discovery of new biological concepts and eventually novel therapeutic strategies to tackle diabetes.

Valerio Azzimato, Postdoc

Valerio Azzimato

I obtained my PhD in Pharmacological Sciences from Università Statale di Milano in 2014. My research project focused on epigenetic mechanisms regulating intracellular communication in cardiovascular scenario. In 2015 I joined KI as a junior postdoc in order to investigate the interplay between DNA methylation, molecular pathways and metabolism in heart diseases. In February 2018, I joined Dr. Aouadi’s group in order to study the role(s) of liver macrophages in the regulation of systemic metabolism. In this lab I have the opportunity to use state-of-the-art techniques to investigate the crosstalk between immune and metabolic cells. My aim is to better understand the molecular circuits responsible for the development of metabolic diseases.

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