One protein, many faces: characterization of tau protein oligomers involved in Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies

PhD defence. Wednesday, 19 April 2017. Angela de Poli

2017.04.19 | Steffi Hjerrild Iversen

Angela De Poli

Neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy, are associated with the accumulation of aggregates made of a protein called tau. The small tau oligomeric species appearing at early stages in these pathologies are considered to play the main cytotoxic role in the brain. For this reason, they represent a good target for the development of therapies to slower or even reverse the disease course. However, the heterogeneous and transient nature of the oligomers makes their study rather challenging. During her PhD studies, Angela de Poli prepared homogeneous tau oligomers in vitro and extensively studied their physicochemical properties through different biochemical and biophysical techniques. She then tested the aggregates in cell cultures and investigated their ability to act as “seeds” able to spread the pathology.

The new research findings expand the knowledge on the properties of tau oligomers and on their pathological role in neuronal degeneration. The oligomers coming from this study will hopefully be used as biomarkers for the development of viable therapies to cure different neurodegenerative conditions.

Angela de Poli conducted part of her PhD studies at Crossbeta Biosciences, Utrecht, the Netherlands. The PhD degree was completed at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Wednesday, 19 April 2017 at 13.15
Place: Building 1531, room 113, Lecture Theatre D1, Department of Mathematics, Ny Munkegade 118, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C
Title of dissertation:
 Before becoming tangles: characteristics of tau oligomers 
Contact information: 
Angela de Poli, e-mail:, tel.: +45 2196 3199 
Members of the assessment committee:

Professor Ludmilla Morozova-Roche, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Umeå University, Sweden
Professor Niels H. H. Heegaard, Head of the Department of Autoimmunology & Biomarkers, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen; Department of Clinical Biochemistry; Clinical Institute, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark
Associate Professor Ken Howard (chair), iNANO, Aarhus University 
Main supervisor:
Professor Daniel Otzen, iNANO and Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Dr Armand W. J. W. Tepper, Crossbeta Biosciences, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1520, rooms 128-134, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
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Revised 23.02.2018