NAD Fellow year: 2023

Emil Westi

Education
MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen
Country
Denmark

PhD Project

Project title

CaMKIIα as a potential target in post-stroke neuroinflammation

PhD lab
Wellendorph Lab, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology
Institution
University of Copenhagen
Main supervisor
Professor Petrine Wellendorph
Co-supervisors
Professor Kate Lykke Lambertsen, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark
Professor Christina Rostrup Kruuse, Rigshospitalet

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Wellendorph Lab, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen w/PI Professor Petrine Wellendorph

In the Wellendorph Lab, they have identified a new class of compounds for the protein target CaMKIIα, constituting 2% of all protein in the brain. Emil would like to experiment with what happens when you either stimulate or inhibit this protein target in microglia where it is also expressed – if time allows. Mostly, he is looking forward to learning more about the techniques employed in the lab.

Lab Rotation 2

Lambertsen Group, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark w/PI Professor Kate Lykke Lambertsen

While Emil is conducting his second rotation in Kate Lambertsen’s lab, he will be a part of a collaborative project between Kate’s lab and Petrine Wellendorph’s lab. He will investigate the effect of two compounds on post stroke inflammation following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) in mice. This will be done by teaching him how to do immunohistochemistry on PFA perfused brains as well as flow cytometery on glial cells and immune cells.

Lab Rotation 3

Division of Neuron-Glia Circuitry, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Copenhagen w/PI Professor Hajime Hirase

Emil will be engaged in an experiment to investigate the activity of individual neurons in the visual cortex while the mouse is presented with sensory stimuli. Emil will learn to collect data using a two-photon microscope. Once the data collection phase is settled, Emil will be introduced to data analysis involving image processing and multivariate analysis comparing wildtype and transgenic mice that have compromised glia function.

Meet Emil Westi

Emil Westi obtained his MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Copenhagen in 2022. He has recently completed a research stay at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Emil’s primary research interests lie within the field of neuroscience and pharmacology:

“I did my bachelor’s and my master’s thesis at NeuroMet [research group the University of Copenhagen] (…) primarily focusing on the metabolism of the brain, both in animal models and in cells. I have also worked with Alzheimer’s animals and investigated their metabolism. Recently, I have moved towards investigating microglia. While it is not a new cell type, it is not as well investigated as neurons and astrocytes, so I think that is very interesting. I would like to continue my investigation of this cell type, at least during the pre-PhD year, as it is also implicated in stroke.”

Emil is motivated by seeing results and experiencing how the work done in the laboratory leads to new insights. When asked what motivated him to apply for an NAD fellowship, Emil highlights the autonomy that the programme provides in relation to planning your PhD project: “You have a lot of freedom to structure your own research and decide the direction that you want to go in.”

Emil will do his first lab rotation with Professor Petrine Wellendorph of the Wellendorph Lab at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen. In the Wellendorph Lab, they have identified a new class of compounds for the protein target CaMKIIα, constituting 2% of all protein in the brain. Emil would like to experiment with what happens when you either stimulate or inhibit this protein target in microglia where it is also expressed – if time allows. Mostly, he is looking forward to learning more about the techniques employed in the lab.