Early Stage Researcher

Joe Kelk
My project:
9 | Perivascular macrophages in ischaemic endothelial function
Joe Kelk
Host Organisation:
Laboratory of Inflammation and Nervous System Diseases, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Milano, Italy

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

The research project concerns the well-known impairment of the Blood Brain Barrier in neuroinflammatory and cerebrovascular diseases. During this disease state many cells play critical roles in regulating the inflammatory state but the role of macrophages is still poorly understood. One particular sub-group known as perivascular macrophages have functional roles which are largely disputed. By focusing on the influence perivascular macrophages have on endothelial cells, we hope to understand the finer mechanisms that can protect the brain from ischemia. Thus, identifying novel therapeutic strategies for clinical application in conditions such as strokes.

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

For me the Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN programme represented a great opportunity to move to a new country and experience a new way of life while interacting and corresponding with people from many different backgrounds. What specifically drew me to my research project was the continuation of my research interests from my master’s degree and the interest I developed in neuroinflammation and the way different cells respond to this type of environment.

What is so fascinating for you on research in general?

The reasons I find research so interesting are many, however I believe one of the main appeals for me is to push new ideas, to really apply the knowledge you have developed and always push for new ideas. The collaborative aspect of this is also a huge factor, giving me the ability to reach out around the world and see not only how different people work but also how different facilities handle similar objectives, allowing me to learn from that and develop new ways of handling even simple everyday tasks.

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

Since my relocation to Milan I have tried to embrace the ability the Italy has to always provide locations to suit your interests. Generally, I’ve been enjoying the life in Italy and the ability to go into the city and always find everything from shops to cafes open and waiting. In the future I’d like to travel around more and experience everything Italy has to offer.

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

In 5 years I’d like to be in a more permanent position in research. I would like the ability to take what I have learned and continue to push forward with a focus on continuing to develop collaborative research efforts to drive new discoveries within the field of neuroscience.

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