Portrait of  Gilda Loffredo

Gilda Loffredo

Research Student

About

Research Project: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its link to Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

Qualifications: 
MSc (Hons) in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, University of Florence
BSc in Biotechnology, University of Urbino "Carlo Bo"

Scholarships: 
Medway School of Pharmacy Post Graduate Research Scholarship

Conference Activities: 
The AAT-AD/PD Focus Meeting 2020, 2-5 April 2020, Vienna, Austria

Research interests

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a sudden damage to the brain caused by an external force (blow or jolt) to the head (head injury). Each year, millions worldwide, and about 1.4 million in England and Wales alone, suffer TBI in road accidents, collision sports and falls. Military personnel are also at risk, as blast waves can cause brain Injury. 

Concern about longer-term effects of TBI has increased in recent years with media coverage of repeated head injury in sport which leads to cognitive problems. Indeed, many epidemiological studies provide evidence that TBI is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias. In addition, extensive tau pathology, similar to that found in AD has been described in brains of individuals exposed to repetitive head injury such as boxers and more recently American football players. 

Despite its growing prevalence and association with dementia, TBI is understudied and the underlying mechanisms by which it could trigger neurodegeneration leading to AD are still unclear. Therefore, my research aims to uncover mechanisms linking TBI and dementia by studying early molecular changes in tau and other AD-associated proteins that may be initiated by the neuronal damage as a consequence of the head trauma.

Supervision

Supervisors: Dr Romina Vuono and Dr Gurprit Lall

Research Group: Biological Sciences

Publications