Early Stage Researcher

Sara Figuerola
My project:
14 | Remodelling of the microvasculature by perivascular macrophages after stroke
Sara Figuerola
Host Organisation:
Instituto de Investigationes Biomedicas de Barcelona – Department of Brain Ischemia and Neuro-degeneration, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Barcelona, Spain

What is your project/research about? What would you like to find out?

My project focusses on understanding the role of perivascular macrophages (PVM), a distinct population of resident brain macrophages, in health and stroke by using in vivo models. More specifically, we are interested in revealing whether these macrophages are a key component for the communication between the immune system and the vascular endothelium after ischemic stroke. Ultimately, we aim to modulate PVM function by modifying cell phenotype/function, and study the stroke outcome. Taking together, this project sought to provide new insights into the biology of PVM and stroke and shed light for novel therapies for stroke and perhaps, other brain diseases.

Why did you apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN and especially this project?

I believe that interdisciplinary efforts are critical for scientific discovery, and that is what caught my attention from the consortium.  The possibility to be part of a group of scientists and other PhD students from different countries with a common goal sounded very appealing to me. I was particularly attracted to my project because I found stroke a very serious and life-threating medical condition with unmet clinical need and, at the same time, I was interested to learn the methodology my current group employs to model stroke and to understand at the cell and molecular level the stroke outcome. Finally, having lived abroad for several years now, I had the unique chance to come back home!

What is so fascinating for you on research in general?

Many things! I like challenges and never stop learning. Research provides valuable skills, not only in the lab but also in life such as time management and communication skills.  But, perhaps, one of the most fascinating thing from research for me is knowing that what I am doing can make a difference in people’s life.

What do you do in your free time? Do you have special interests/hobbies?

I like spending time with family and friends and I also very much enjoy doing sports, it brings me a lot of energy and clears up my mind.

What are your plans for your future? Where/what you will be in 5 years?

My primary goal is to graduate as a PhD student. After that, I would like to continue contributing to science, I am curious to explore the clinical perfective in the industry setting but I do not close doors in academia.

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