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COVID-19 and Cardiology Read more

Meet the Scientists of Tomorrow

SoT nucleus members

Dr. Monika Gladka, The Netherlands

Monika Gladka 2020.PNG

Area of expertise: Cardiac Repair, Gene Therapy

Dr. Monika Gladka received her PhD in Molecular Cardiology from the Maastricht University in The Netherlands, where she learned the basics of molecular cardiology and developed an interest in transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulation during heart failure. Currently, she is a senior researcher at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, which is a part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Her current research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate cardiac repair, intending to identify new players to develop novel, improved gene therapies. She uses several state-of-the-art techniques such as single-cell sequencing, enabling an in-depth mechanistic understanding of the biological processes in injured cardiomyocytes. In 2016 she received the prestigious Dr. E. Dekker personal grant from Dutch Heart Foundation for heart repair research.

Dr. Rui Adao, Portugal 

Rui Adao 2020.PNGArea of expertise: Pathomechanisms of pulmonary arterial hypertension and right ventricular failure

Dr Rui Adão, is a Biologist with a PhD degree in Cardiovascular Sciences obtained at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto (Portugal), where he is currently working as a postdoctoral research scientist at the Cardiovascular Research and Development Center - UnIC.  

During his PhD training, Rui developed a strong expertise in animal models of pulmonary arterial hypertension (e.g., monocrotaline, hypoxia-Sugen5416) as well as cardiac function evaluation in vivo and in vitro, sparking a particular interested in the role of Urocortin-2 in pulmonary arterial hypertension and adaptation of the right ventricle to pressure overload (Adão R et al. Cardiovascular Research 2018).

Rui has made a significant contribution to this scientific field as exemplified by several high impact original publications as first- or co-author.

His current research focuses on elucidating the role and therapeutic potential of novel small molecules (e.g., small peptides and microRNAs) in the setting of pulmonary arterial hypertension and associated heart failure.

Dr. Sveva Bollini, Italy

Bollini-Sveva-2019.jpgArea of Expertise: Human stem cell-derived paracrine effect and extracellular vesicle biology for cardiac repair and regeneration 

Dr. Sveva Bollini graduated in Medical Biotechnology and got her PhD from the University of Padova in Italy, where she studied the cardiomyogenic potential of human amniotic fluid stem cells. During her post-doctoral work, she worked on the lineage characterization of reactivated epicardium-derived progenitor cells for cardiac repair at UCL-University College London and at University of Oxford, in UK.

In 2014 she was presented with the “Rita Levi Montalcini” Young Investigator Award from the Italian Ministry of Research and Education (MIUR) and invited back to Italy to study the paracrine potential of the human amniotic fluid stem cell secretome (i.e. the whole of cell-secreted soluble factors and extracellular vesicles) to boost endogenous heart repair mechanisms. Currently she is an Associate Professor in Experimental Biology in the Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Genova in Genova, Italy. Her research mainly focuses on the functional characterisation of human fetal and perinatal stem cell secretome to resurge myocardial renewal, following injury (i.e. myocardial infarction and drug-induced cardiotoxicity).

Dr. Mahmoud Abdellatif, Austria

abdellatif-mahmoud-2017.jpgArea of expertise: Autophagy and Cardiovascular Aging

Mahmoud is a research fellow at the Clinical Department of Cardiology at the Medical University of Graz, Austria. After studying human medicine in Egypt and Spain as well as basic cardiovascular science in Portugal, he joined the Graz experimental cardiology team in Austria. There, he developed an immense interest in the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular aging and potential interventions that could delay disease and extend lifespan. His quest for anti-aging therapies led to discovering the cardio-protective and longevity-promoting effects of the natural autophagy-inducer and caloric restriction mimetic spermidine. He has received various prestigious awards for this finding including, but not limited to, the Sanofi Aventis Prize (2017) and the European Society of Cardiology young investigator award of the Heart Failure Association (winter meeting, 2017).

Currently, he is experimenting on other novel and feasible strategies to slow aging, meanwhile taking to the clinics those backed with sufficient preclinical evidence for human translation.

Dr. Constanze Schmidt, Germany

Constanze Schmidt_2018.jpg

Area of expertise: Cellular and Translational Electrophysiology in Atrial Arrhythmopathy, Cardiac Tissue Remodeling

Dr. Constanze Schmidt currently works as physician scientist at Heidelberg University Hospital after her education in internal medicine and clinical cardiology with focus on cellular and clinical electrophysiology. She studied medicine and physics at Georg August University Göttingen, Germany. During her post-doctoral work, she studied the role of two-pore domain potassium channels in atrial fibrillation. Consecutively, she established her own laboratory focused on regulation of cardiac ion channels in thepathogenesis of atrial arrhythmopathyand investigation of new compounds in atrial fibrillation models for new antiarrhythmic applications. She received numerous research scholarships and awards from national and international foundations (Young Investigator Award Basic Science Finalist of the American Heart Rhythm Society, 2014; Olympia-Morata funding program, 2014-16; OskarLapp research award 2016 of the German Cardiac Society; August Wilhelm and Liselotte Becht research award 2017 of the German foundation for heart research).

Dr. Albano C. Meli, France

Albano Meli_2018.jpg

Area of expertise: Calcium Handling, Excitation-Contraction Coupling, Stem Cells

Albano received his PhD in Neurobiology at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Montpellier (France) in 2007. He then worked as a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City (USA) for 4 years. He was granted the European Marie-Curie Fellowship (2011) and the European Society of Cardiology grant (2012) to build up a team on human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes at Masaryk University Faculty of Medicine in Brno (Czech Republic). Albano was recruited as a permanent researcher by the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in 2014. He has experience in basic cardiac physiology, calcium handling, ion channel biophysics as well as in human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to model inherited cardiac arrhythmias.

SoT advisors

Dr. Jyoti Patel, UK


Area of expertise: Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease

Jyoti studied Biochemistry at Warwick University (UK) with a year placement at the Health Protection Agency, where she became interested in immunology and disease pathology which was followed by a PhD at Oxford University in inflammation and atherosclerosis in (2007-2011). During her post-doctoral work, she studied the role of a novel mediator of chemokine receptor signalling in aortic aneurysm formation which resulted in British Atherosclerosis Society Young Investigator Award in 2014. In 2015, she was awarded a British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence Intermediate Transition Fellowship at Oxford University to develop her research interests on the mechanisms behind leukocyte trafficking in the response to acute myocardial infarction and their impact on healing of the heart.

Dr. Anke Smits, Netherlands


Area of expertise: cardiovascular regeneration, cell-based cardiac repair

After completing her PhD in cardiovascular biology at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Anke secured a fellowship that allowed her to spend 2 years as a postdoctoral research fellow based at both University College London and Oxford University. Currently she is a senior researcher at the department of Molecular Cell Biology, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). Her research group is funded by several prestigious grants including a VENI from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and a LUMC Research Fellowship. Her research in (stem) cell biology focuses on translational cell-based therapies for myocardial infarction and remodelling, as well as on the regenerative potential of the cardiovascular system.


News from the Scientists of Tomorrow

Meet the Working Groups representatives