Dr. Simona Foscarin is currently postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge (UK). She sits in the Editorial Board of other two open-access journals and has been peer reviewer for several neuroscientific papers. Foscarin received Bachelor and Master Degrees (Hons) in Psychology at the University of Turin (Italy). Since her studies, however, her passion for Neuroscience led Dr. Foscarin to unravel basic mechanisms of the brain. After graduation, she obtained a Ph.D. in Experimental Neuroscience at the University of Turin in 2012. She then headed to Cambridge, where Dr. Foscarin has been contributing to the excellence of the John Van Geest Centre for Brain Repair.
Dr. Foscarin interests span several topics concerning neuronal plasticity. Early in her career, she focussed on neuronal intrinsic factors and growth associated genes. She progressively shifted her focus onto myelinic inhibitors and axon guidance molecules, to finally concentrate on extracellular matrix and perineuronal nets (PNNs). PNNs are specialized structures of the extracellular matrix that enwrap some neuronal population and modulate plasticity are mainly composed by hyaluronan and chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs), link proteins and tenascin-R; moreover they can interact and modulate the function of many diffusible factors, e.g. semaphorins. Foscarinís aim is to shed light on how PNNs and particularly the glycosaminoglycan chains on CSPGs influence plasticity. She has been assessing the topic with a wide range of techniques, spanning from and morphological analyses and molecular biology to cellular biology and biochemistry. The translational goal is to understand inhibitory and modulatory functions of PNNs and their CSPGs on synaptic plasticity. This will help understand how to selectively target the respective molecular counterparts, in order to enhance plasticity where needed but avoiding aberrant effects. Dr. Foscarin is ultimately interested in the development of new treatments for neuronal diseases and injuries.
Psychology; Neuroscience; Development of new treatments for neuronal diseases and injuries.