Sant Pau Hospital Research Institute consolidates a new research group

The External Scientific Committee of the Research Institute of the Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau – IIB Sant Pau has approved the stabilization of Dra Olivia Belbín and the creation of the emerging Molecular Neurodegeneration research group, led by her, at the proposal of the director of the institute, Dr. Jordi Surrallés.

After an outstanding professional career and a successful evaluation of her work as a researcher for more than a decade at the IIB Sant Pau, this appointment represents a recognition of the effort and confirms the firm commitment of the institute to attract and retain talent

Originally from the United Kingdom, Dr. Olivia Belbin graduated in Neuroscience and obtained her PhD in Molecular Biomedical Sciences from the University of Nottingham (UK). She arrived at Sant Pau in 2011, coming from the Mayo Clinic (USA), and joined the research group led by Dr. Alberto Lleó in the Memory Unit. In 2014, Dr. Belbin started his own line of research focused on the development of markers of synapse degeneration. After 8 years as a Miguel Servet researcher, she is now consolidating herself as head of an emerging group.

“It has always been a dream of mine to have my own research group. In addition, this represents recognition of my work as a researcher and will help me to give my team’s work more visibility. At the same time, it’s also a challenge, because now I have more responsibility, but I’m very excited and I face it with great desire to take on bigger projects and consolidate the group at the international level in order to do our bit to improve the situation of patients with Alzheimer’s disease”, says Dr. Belbin.

Research lines

This new group is expert in proteomics data analysis (SRM/MRM/PRM, LFQ) by PCA, WGCNA, PathFindR, regressions and correlations; technical and clinical validation of antibodies and immunoassays in post-mortem brain tissue (WB, IHC) and patient-derived biofluids (ELISA/SIMOA); miRNA-oma studies, including miRNA panels and targeted assays; fractionation of synaptosomes from postmortem tissue and isolation of extracellular vesicles; massively parallel reporter assays (molecular cloning and in vitro assays); multimodal correlative analyzes in clinical cohorts; Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis of postmortem tissues and patient-derived biofluids; polygenic risk scores based on biological pathways; nlme modeling of cognitive impairment related to genetic risk factors.

The main lines of research of this new group are:

Development of fluid biomarkers of synaptic degeneration in neurodegenerative diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders.
“Omic” studies to understand the molecular basis of synapse degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease.
Pathway-based polygenic risk scores to elucidate genetic factors underlying Alzheimer’s disease and use of in vitro cell-based assays to assess their function.

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