Dr Eleftheria K Pissadaki joined the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and the Multiscale Systems Biology and Modelling Group in May 2016. Eleftheria has a long term research interest in brain diseases, neurodegeneration and particularly in the etiopathology of Parkinson’s disease.
Eleftheria by joining the Blue Sky team will contribute as a basic research neuroscientist to a project related to human studies, Parkinson’s disease and the detection of motor signatures that foreshadow daily fluctuations of the disease’s symptoms. Her involvement with high impact research and human studies in IBM makes an excellent continuation to her prior research endevours as an MRC Investigator Scientist in Oxford University and the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit, now known as MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit. Eleftheria has implemented for the first time a detailed biophysical model of the axon arbourisation of dopamine neurons which are selectively vulnerable in Parkinson’s disease to test hypotheses related to the cause of their neurodegeneration. The predictions of her model have recently been confirmed by a number of high caliber experimental studies. During this period in Oxford and her meetings with people that suffered from Parkinson’s, Eleftheria recognized the importance of bridging the microscale of basic research with the macroscopic observation of the symptoms of the disease as a means to guide basic and translational research and find a cure.
Another active strand of her research is related to hippocampal dynamics, the neural code and the hippocampal microcircuit focusing on the neuronal mechanisms that support phase precession in the CA1 pyramidal neurons and neurons of the basal ganglia.
Eleftheria has studied Mathematics (Department of Mathematics), gained an MSc in Neuroscience (Faculty of Medicine) and a PhD on Computational Neuroscience jointly from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), FORTH, Greece and the Department of Biology, University of Crete, Greece.
Research keywords: brain diseases; neurodegeneration; Parkinson’s disease (PD); PD etiopathology; human studies; SNc dopamine neurons; cellular energetics; dopamine axons – structure and physiology; sodium and calcium SNc axon channels; basal ganglia; hippocampus; CA1 pyramidal neurons and interneurons; hippocampal microcircuit; phase precession; brain oscillations; rotenone animal model of PD; experimental design; CA1 pyramidal neuron biophysical model; biophysical compartmental modelling