NAD Fellow year: 2023

Anastasia Tsopanidou

Education
MSc in Immunology and Inflammation, University of Copenhagen
Country
Greece

PhD Project

Project title
Deciphering the Role of Temperature in Memory Consolidation During Sleep: Implications for Alzheimer´s Disease
PhD lab
Kjærby Lab, Center for Translational Neuromedicine
Institution
University of Copenhagen
Main supervisor
Associate Professor Celia Kjærby
Co-supervisors
Assistant Professor Peter Petersen, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen
Professor Poul Jennum, Danish Center for Sleep Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital Glostrup

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Kornum Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Birgitte Kornum

During her rotation, Anastasia will delve deeper into the relationship between sleep and immunology.

Lab Rotation 2

Petersen Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Assistant Professor Peter Petersen

he Petersen Lab aims to elucidate the neuronal mechanisms that underlie memory and cognition as well as how imbalances in these neuronal circuits can lead to pathological conditions. For this purpose, the group uses a wide variety of techniques spanning from in vivo electrophysiology in awake, behaving rats to advanced computational methods. During her stay at the Petersen Lab, Anastasia will participate in a project focused on the study of spatial memory and theta oscillations in rats.  More specifically, Anastasia will be introduced to all of the techniques utilized in the project, such as the establishment of a novel behavioral task for complex spatial learning, the implantation of Neuropixels probes that allow for large-scale electrophysiology in behaving rodents and, finally, analysis methods of large-scale neural datasets.

Lab Rotation 3

Palner Lab, University of Southern Denmark w/PI Associate Professor Mikael Palner

While at the Palner Lab, Anastasia will be combining fiberphotometry of calcium (a technique she knows) with dynamic FDG-PET whole brain imaging (which she will learn). She will do this following an acute injection of psilocybin, a potent serotonergic psychedelic drug which shows potential in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.

Meet Anastasia Tsopanidou

Originally from Greece, Anastasia Tsopanidou obtained her MSc in Immunology and Inflammation from the University of Copenhagen in 2021. Since obtaining her degree, Anastasia has been working as a research assistant in the Nedergaard Lab at Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Copenhagen, investigating how the neuromodulator norepinephrine influences neuronal excitation in a rodent model of prolonged social stress.

Currently, Anastasia is interested in sleep, especially REM sleep. Why do we have different sleep stages, and what makes us go from one to another?  How are sleep and cognition related, and how does this relationship change in for example neurodegenerative diseases and depression? Anastasia is also interested in the intimate relationship between sleep and temperature:

“Can we manipulate temperature and improve sleep quality? Or the fact that we have global warming and this is clearly affecting our sleep – what does it mean for our cognition?”

Anastasia hopes that the NAD programme will allow her to gain new perspectives on the topic of sleep through lab rotations and lab collaboration:

“I do not have a perspective on for example what happens to the metabolism and what happens to the immune system – or the clinical aspect and how sleep is studied in humans. I think that the NAD programme is a really good opportunity for developing a network between different labs, and for me, personally, to rotate between different labs and get these different perspectives. Having more than one supervisor is meaningful and can be more translational as well.”

In her research, Anastasia describes herself as curiosity-driven and fascinated by pursuing answers to her questions:

“I would like to stay in research as long as I have questions to address and as long as I am fascinated by what I do.”