Silvia De Santis
Silvia De Santis
Affiliation: Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante, CSIC-UMH
Fields or areas of research Biomedicine , Neuroimaging
My journey in research started with a PhD in physics at Sapienza University (Rome) during which I studied water diffusion dynamics in complex systems using diffusion-weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). During my pre and early postdoctoral years, I focused on pushing the boundaries of MRI to investigate brain microstructure through the development of more specific models, able to account for different relevant aspects of the cerebral tissue composition. In my more senior postdoctoral research, driven by a growing interest in neurobiology and a desire to amplify the impact of my results, I developed a precise translation of diffusion parameters into biological variables by demonstrating that specific tissue compartments, such as axons and glia, leave a characteristic signature in the diffusion MRI measurements, allowing their quantitative description. I applied these methodologies to answer important neurobiological questions, like the impact of alcohol use, the evolution of brain microstructure along the lifespan and the interplay between myelination, axonal loss and neuroinflammation in early multiple sclerosis. My early achievements granted me international visibility and recognition: I have published 1 book chapter and 29 full papers in peer-reviewed international journals; I have been granted competitive projects as principal investigator in UK, Spanish, US and European calls. I have made >40 international presentations and routinely review papers for prestigious journals and grants. Several of my research outputs made it to the press and have been presented in TV, radio and newspapers through interviews. Thanks to a Subvencion a la Excelencia cientifica de Juniors Investigadores from the Valencian government, I was able to establish my research line in the prestigious Institute of Neuroscience of Alicante, where my investigation focus on developing and applying non-invasive imaging techniques to look at neuroinflammatory markers in health, ageing and disease with a translational focus.
The BRAIN-VIVO project in which I am working aims to develop non-invasive magnetic resonance biomarkers for the study of neuroinflammation, the activation state of the brain's immune system, and use them to clarify the role of neuroinflammation in patients with multiple sclerosis in phase very early pathology.
People associated with the project as predoctoral research staff: 1
People associated with the project as technical support staff: 1