Master's programme: Drug Innovation
Current position: PhD candidate Leiden University Medical Center
Elena Daoutsali (1991) obtained her Bachelor degree on molecular biology and genetics at Democritus University of Thrace, Greece in 2014. Early on in her bachelor study she was interested to see how research is conducted in a lab, so in parallel with her courses and lectures she joined a lab to start off her lab practice, learning about molecular cloning techniques. Knowing that research is more respected and better-funded abroad than in her country, she chose to do her Master studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Utrecht University from 2014-2016, in the program Drug Innovation. Excited from all the theoretical knowledge she gained from the Master program on drug discovery and development and the practical experience from the two research internships on different neurodegenerative diseases she continued with her PhD in Leiden University Medical Center, in the NeuroD group led by Dr. Willeke van Roon-Mom. Her research focuses on the development of an RNA targeting therapy for Dutch-type Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy (D-CAA). In parallel, she is also interested in in vitro 3D disease modelling. Currently, she is culturing cerebral organoids that are grown from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and will be used for disease modelling and unravelling the molecular mechanism of the disease as well as therapy testing. Being on the 4th year of the PhD and towards the finishing line reminds her of being towards the end of the Master study and thinking what to do next. As stressful as it might be, these are also exciting times!