Here, we talked with Dr. Haapasalo and Dr. Solje about their research on biomarkers to differentiate frontotemporal dementia from primary psychiatric disorders. See each of their biographies below.
Research Director (Associate Professor), Annakaisa Haapasalo holds a PhD and adjunct professorship in neurobiology. She leads the Molecular Neurodegeneration research group at the A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, Finland. Her research interests are in the genetic factors and molecular mechanisms related to neurodegenerative diseases, particularly frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Haapasalo group uses different cellular and animal models, including patient skin fibroblasts and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived brain cells (neurons and microglia) and a variety of molecular, cell biological, and biochemical techniques to elucidate molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Together with clinical collaborators, they also utilize blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples from well-characterized FTD and AD patients to identify disease biomarkers. The current research projects in the group focus on potential synaptic dysfunction, contribution of microglia and inflammation, and defects in cellular protein degradation mechanisms and energy metabolism in FTD pathogenesis.
Annakaisa Haapasalo web page
Molecular Neurodegeneration group web page
Adjunct Professor, Dr. Eino Solje performed his medical studies in the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) in Kuopio, Finland. and has worked as a clinician in several hospitals. He has been working also as a visiting researcher in the University of Brescia, Italy. His research is focused on clinical and genetic aspects of frontotemporal dementia and early onset dementia, especially the phenotype linked to the C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers. He has also several publications of biomarkers, neuroimaging and mechanistic studies in the field of frontotemporal dementia