DRA. SHIRA KNAFO IKERBASQUE RESEARCH PROFESOR DIRECTORA DEL ... dra. shira knafo ikerbasque research
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DRA. SHIRA KNAFO
IKERBASQUE RESEARCH PROFESOR DIRECTORA DEL DEAPRTAMENTO DE
BIOFSICA CELULAR, DE ORGANISMOS Y DE SISTEMAS.
INSTITUTO DE BIOFSICA (CSIC/UPV)
Datos personales: Nacida en Israel en 1972. Tiene 2 hijos Lneas de investigacin
1. Cognitive enhancements, drug development 2. Social behavior 3. Alzheimers disease, mechanisms and treatments
1. Qu te hizo seguir una carrera cientfica? Por qu en Neurociencia? I was trained as a medical doctor and as a neuroscientist. At the end of the medical school I have realized that I am more attracted to research than for clinical work. In particular I was fascinated by processes of learning and memory. 2. Cul crees que ha sido tu mejor logro dentro de la Neurociencia? Neurons communicate with one another through synapses, structures that allow information to be exchanged from one neuron to another. These connections are not static but rather, they are continuously modulated in response to different factors, such as the ongoing activity (or experiences) of the neuron. Such responses are referred to as synaptic plasticity, which is a fundamental mechanism for learning and memory in humans, as in all animals. In fact, we now know that defects in synaptic plasticity are responsible for memory impairment in cognitive disorders like AD. In recent years, my laboratory has focused on how to strengthen these connections and create new ones in order to prevent memory loss and to favour its recovery. We discovered that synaptic plasticity is indeed affected in AD and that this alteration is produced by a protein originally described as a tumor suppressor: PTEN (Phosphatase and Tensin Homologue). We showed that PTEN is recruited to synapses during normal (physiological) synaptic plasticity and our more recent data now indicates that this process runs out of control in AD. Indeed, one of the pathological agents of the disease, beta-amyloid, drives excessive PTEN into synapses, and this disequilibrates synaptic plasticity and impairs memory. Importantly, we showed how PTEN is recruited to synapses in response to beta-amyloid accumulation and how it interacts with other proteins (PDZ proteins), affecting their behavior. Most significantly, we also proposed a strategy to prevent these events from occurring. We developed a new drug that shields synapses from excessive PTEN recruitment and that prevents its interactions with PDZ proteins. Equipped with this tool, neurons become resistant to beta-amyloid and Alzheimers mice preserve their memory. The results of this novel research was published earlier this year in Nature Neuroscience (January 2016). 3. Qu te gustara aportar a la Neurociencia en los prximos aos? I would like to contribute new and innovative medicines capable of enhancing memory in Alzheimers patients.
4. Qu hombres/mujeres han influido en tu carrera cientfica? Especially my ex supervisors, prof. Jose Esteban, prof. Javier De Felipe and prof. Edi Barkai. 5. Se sepa o no de ciencia, todos conocemos a hombres cientficos, pero no ocurre lo mismo con las mujeres cientficas cmo crees que se podra cambiar esta tendencia? Women should be equally represented in the institutes, committees, grant evaluations, sceintific papers evaluations, and conferences as speakers.
La Dra. Shira Knafo junto a su equipo en el Instituto de Biofsica. 6. En las Universidades Espaolas y en el Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas (CSIC) hay menos mujeres que hombres que finalizan su doctorado y muchas menos mujeres que hombres que alcanzan la Ctedra de Universidad o el nivel de Profesor de Investigacin. Dado que estos datos apenas han cambiado en los ltimos aos, a qu crees que es debido? Probably this is a combination of several factors. 1. A women with a family needs strong support from her partner. Without it is difficult to be competitive. 2. Women are not taken seriously enough to my opinion. They are considered less competent than men. And this is of course not correct. 3. Since men have more influence right now, they tend to choose more men than women. Qu tipo de acciones crees que se deberan adoptar? Insist on an equal number of men and women in all institutes, committees and decision making procedures. 7. Existen varios premios de carcter cientfico dedicados solo a mujeres. En general, qu opinas de este tipo de galardones? I think this is very positive to encourage women with good achievements. Y del sistema de cuotas o de otras medidas de accin positiva? Definitely positive since it will not happen without it.
8. Desde qu ao eres socia de la Sociedad Espaola de Neurociencia (SENC)? Qu posicin (estudiante predoctoral, contratada postdoctoral, etc...) ocupabas entonces? Since 2014, research profesor, Ikerbasque 9. Acabamos de crear el Comit de Mujeres en Neurociencia dentro de la SENC qu hace falta para que dentro de otros diez aos no haga falta este tipo de comits? Insist on equal representation of women in all areas. 10. Qu crees que puede aportar el Comit de Mujeres en Neurociencia en concreto, y la SENC en general, para reducir la brecha entre neurocientficos y neurocientficas? Prepare reports on the advance in this issue. Make sure that women are well represented. Fecha entrevista: 28 de abril de 2017