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CELEJ, M. Soledad

Independent Researcher CONICET / Associate Professor (DS) UNC
Phone: +54 351 5353855 ext 3465
E-mail: mcelej@mail.fcq.unc.edu.ar

Protein misfolding and amyloid aggregation

 

Several pathologic conditions arise from the misfolding of polyeptides that aggregate into amyloid fibrils, highly organized supramolecular beta-sheet-rich structures. Many of these conditions are neurodegenerative with high socioeconomic impact, such as BSE and Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s (PD) diseases. Our line of research is aimed at studying the molecular, kinetic and environmental parameters that lead to misfolding and amyloid aggregation of proteins and their relationship to cell dysfunction. We are particularly interested in the molecular bases underlying systemic amyloidosis and neurodegenerative diseases, with special emphasis on PD. Prefibrillar amyloid oligomers are pointed as the most neurotoxic species. A hypothetical mechanism for toxic is membrane damage. Within this framework we are currently studying amyloid oligomers of α-synuclein, key protein in PD pathogenesis, at the molecular level. We focus on 1) the structure and supramolecular organization of α-synuclein oligomers; 2) the interaction with model membrane systems and 3) the loss of function associated with self-aggregation. Recently, we have become interested in the effect of point mutations and posttranslational modifications in α-synuclein that increase amyloid propensity. We want to establish the physicochemical bases of such behavior.
We employ a multidisciplinary approach that combines genetic engineering, molecular biology, optical spectroscopies, single molecule techniques and microscopies. These studies are complemented by cell-based assays directed at evaluating the effect of amyloid aggregates in ion permeation, seeding and cell viability. The group has close links with scientists in other laboratories in the country and abroad. Group members develop their projects by discussion with other members of the research team, they are often involved in joint projects with other laboratories and may spend periods of time working with our collaborators in other labs.

Fellows

  • Jose Ignacio Gallea
  • Cecilia Challier (National University of Rio IV). Co-advisor postdoctoral fellowship from CONICET.

Selected Publications

(More publications-CONICET)

Grants

  • Agencia-FONCyT PICT 2013-2603 (2014-2017)
  • SECyT-UNC (2016-2017)

Current Collaborators

Brief CV

Academic Formation

 

  • 2004- PhD in Chemical Sciences, Fcq, UNC. PhD Thesis: Protein stability induced by ligand binding. Characterization of protein conformational states. Advisor: Dr. GD Fidelio. Grade: Outstanding
  • 1999- Bachelor in Chemistry, Fcq, UNC. Grade: 8.50/10.0.

Research Background

 

  • 2014-2015: Visiting researcher at Dr. D. Jameson lab., Dept. Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, USA. Funding: Fulbright / CONICET
  • 2006-2008: Postdoctoral position at Dr. TM Jovin lab., Lab. of Cellular Dynamics, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany. Funding: von Humboldt Foundation postdoctoral fellowship
  • 2004-2005: Postdoctoral position, at Dr. ST Ferreira lab., Institute of Medical Biochemistry/CCS, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Funding: CNPq postdoctoral fellowship

Teaching Background

 

  • Teaching stuff with more than 17 years of experience at the Dept. Biological Chemistry, College of Chemical Sciences, National Univeristy of Cordoba.
  • Undergraduate courses: Biophysical Chemistry, Macromolecule Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Advanced Biological Chemistry.
  • Graduate, PhD courses

Institutional Management Background

 

  • 2014-present. Dept. Biological Chemistry Advisory Board member, Fcq. UNC
  • 2015-present. Member of the PhD dissertation commitee of Lic. Luis Benito Perez Socas, Fcq, UNC.
  • 2011-present. Member of the Laboratory Practice committee, Fcq, UNC.
  • 2011-present. External reviewer in R&D projects (CONICET and Agency-FONCyT) and Research Career of CONICET

Awards

 

  • “Most cited paper in Biochem J Knowledge Environment” awarded by Biochemical Journal for the article Celej et al., BJ (2012) 443:719-726
  • Special mention “Best Ph.D. Thesis in Biophysics Award 2002-2005”, awarded by the Argentinean Biophysical Society (SAB), 2005.

Human Resources Training

 

Graduate students

  • Biol. J. Ignacio Gallea. PhD student. 2012-present
  • Dr Cecilia Challier. Co-Advisor CONICET posdoctoral fellowship. 1/04/2014-31/03/2016.

Bachelor students

  • Jacqueline Chanaday, undergraduate student. 2014-present.
  • Juan Manuel Vargas Fondacaro, undergraduate student. 2015-present.
  • Sebastian Honors, final bachelor individual project. 08/2009-07/2010.

Internships

  • Dr. Rabia Sarroukh, Free University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium, International Cooperation Project granted by CONICET-FNRS. 1/09/14-14/09/14.
  • Dr. Adelin Gustot, Free University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium, International Cooperation Project granted by CONICET-FNRS and MINCyT-FNRS. 1/08/13-30/11/13.
  • Bioq. Georgina Herrera, National University of South (US), White Bay, Argentina. 1/08/13-30/11/13.
  • Biol. Martha Santos, Dept. Anatomy & Cell Biology, College of Medicine, University of Chicago in Illinois, USA. 1/10/12-29/11/12.