Dr. Tania MassignanDr. Massignan received a broad education in biochemistry and neurobiology, with specific training and expertise in various aspects of neurodegenerative disorders. Between 2005 and 2010, as a student of the International Ph.D. in Neuroscience at The Open University of London (UK), she utilized techniques of differential proteomics to investigate the impact on cellular homeostasis of several mutant forms of the cellular prion protein (PrPC), a key factor in transmissible neurodegenerative disorders known as prion diseases. This work generated the first experimental evidence about the existence of a specific cytotoxic feedback loop initiated by the intracellular accumulation of mutant PrP molecules, suggesting that a global alteration of protein trafficking to the cell membrane contributes to the pathogenesis of prion diseases. Between 2006 and 2007, as part of her Ph.D. training, Dr. Massignan visited the laboratory of Prof. David A. Harris at Washington University in St Louis, where she continued to study prion diseases by characterizing the neurotoxicity of another PrP mutant, called ΔCR, which causes neonatal lethality in transgenic mice. Her research identified a specific cytotoxic effect of the ΔCR protein and defined a completely novel cellular assay (called drug-based cell assay, or DBCA) for studying the toxicity of mutant forms of PrP. In 2010, after completing her Ph.D., Dr. Massignan was recruited as a post-doctoral fellow at Boston University School of Medicine. Her project, performed in collaboration with the Center for Drug Discovery in Neurodegeneration (LDDN) at Harvard University, employed the DBCA as a primary assay to carry out a large drug screening campaign aimed at identifying small molecules capable of suppressing mutant PrP toxicity. This work led to the identification of a number of candidate anti-prion compounds currently under investigation and development in different prion laboratories. For such an achievement, Dr. Massignan received the Bioeconomy Award 2014, a prestigious honor conferred directly by the hands of the former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. Since 2015, sponsored by fellowships from the Fondazione Veronesi and the Telethon Foundation, Dr. Massignan joined as a Senior Scientist the Laboratory of Prions & Amyloids at the Department for Cellular, Computational and Integrative Biology (CIBIO), University of Trento. Her current research covers a broad spectrum of topics related to prions and amyloids but maintains the ultimate objective of defining novel therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative disorders.