Stefano Lepore earned his Ph.D. at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany, before coming to UCLA to join Dr. Mackenzie-Graham’s lab in the Department of Neurology. He is fundamentally interested in neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and their primary processes, and has a strong background in neuroscience and magnetic resonance imaging. These areas of expertise facilitate his studies on neurodegeneration in autoimmune neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system commonly used as an animal model of MS.
Lepore’s research involves the analysis of white matter tracts using novel diffusion imaging techniques to evaluate axonal injury and axonal loss and to investigate the surrounding milieu changes during disease and following treatment. During an internship at the GlaxoSmithKline Medicine Research Center he carried out pharmacological MRI (phMRI) studies to identify circuits recruited by stress and their modulation by psychiatry drugs. As part of his doctoral training, Lepore’s research project focused on the use of magnetic resonance imaging to characterize the development of EAE especially during the pre-symptomatic period of the disease. A significant aspect of this work was the employment of a cryogenically-cooled RF coil to acquire micro MR imaging in vivo, with superior spatial resolution so as to be able to reveal brain pathology as microscopic changes in the brain parenchyma. Another doctoral project focused on the study of the dynamics of inflammatory cells between central nervous system and lymphatic system during development of EAE. Lepore studied the nature of immune cell infiltration during brain inflammation with a novel Fluorine/Proton (19F/1H) MR neuroimaging technique and application of fluorescently-tagged 19F nanoparticles.
Lepore’s complete list of published work is here.
David DiTullio from the laboratory of S. Thomas Carmichael, M.D., Ph.D.
David DiTullio is an M.D./Ph.D student in the UCLA Medical Scientist Training Program where his research is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience research, examining both the molecular pathophysiology of neurological diseases as well as the functional effects of these pathologies.
DiTullio’s graduate thesis project employs techniques at all levels of neuroscience research, from molecular studies in vitro and in vivo to functional outcomes using electrophysiological field recordings, a technique that can be applied across domains within neuroscience. He plans to use the BRI Knaub Fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis Research specifically to support the in vivo studies, where the grant will facilitate a new depth of analyses by investigating gene overexpression in aged animals to better model the patient populations commonly affected by severe white matter disease; and to perform electron microscopy to more accurately quantify white matter injury and recovery after treatment. Building a comprehensive understanding of the repair process will ultimately be crucial to identify the most promising new treatments for MS patients in the lab and in the clinic.
DiTrullio’s published work is here.
APPLICATIONS FOR KNAUB FELLOWSHIPS 2020 ARE NOW CLOSED. FOR PREVIOUS FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
The BRI has received a gift from the “Knaub Unitrust” that was generously established by Richard and Suzanne Knaub in support of Multiple Sclerosis research at UCLA. This BRI endowment will provide about $20,000 per year (market dependent) to support projects related to MS. We have established an annual program to name and support the research of two Postdoctoral or Predoctoral “BRI Knaub Fellows”. Each fellow will receive up to $10,000 to support their project.
We will be accepting new applications in March, 2021.
Applications must include:
1. The applicant’s NIH CV and the mentor’s NIH CV with personal statements related to this award.
2. An up to two-page description of the background, aims and scope of the project (generally in NIH fellowship application format).
3. A brief budget and justification on the intended use of the funds (up to $10,000).
Please send all documents as one PDF attachment to Joseph Quintero at JMQuintero@mednet.ucla.edu.
Criteria for funding includes:
1. Excellence in research ideas and technologies with relevance to MS or to fundamental biology of the relevant cell types and circuits.
2. Likelihood of the research proposal impacting MS research.
3. Excellence of the Student and Mentor for the proposed work.
4. Multidisciplinary projects will be favored, but all ideas and projects will be considered. Use of UCLA cores is encouraged, but not critical.
We will support research and not salaries.
5. Applicants may be asked to give a short 10 minute talk on their project to the Selection Committee if multiple applicants are being considered in the end.
If you have any questions, please contact Joseph Quintero at JMQuintero@mednet.ucla.edu. or call 310-825-6055.