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The University of Southampton
OLIGOMED - Oligonucleotides for medical applications

ESR Project. 8, Karolinska University Hospital SLL (SE)

Non-B DNA as target for oligonucleotide intervention

ESR8 Salomé Milagres
Salomé Milagres

Salomé Milagres obtained her BSc in Biology and her MSc in Biomedical Research at the University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Her master thesis in Cardiovascular diseases investigated pharmacological candidates to prevent in-stent restenosis in the heart and was focused on the role of autophagy activators in the extracellular vesicles-mediated angiogenic process. During her Masters, through a scholarship awarded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Health, she got enrolled in an Entrepreneurship Program in Biotechnology at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark.

After finishing her master studies, Salomé was selected through an internship program to join the research group led Professor Vanessa Wheeler and Instructor in Neurology Ricardo Mouro Pinto at the Center for Genomic Medicine (Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital) in Boston, MA, USA. The research project she worked in aimed at targeting the genetic mutation underlying the neurodegenerative disorder Friedreich Ataxia (FA) using CRISPR/Cas9-based therapeutic approaches.

Salomé has also worked as a Research and Development Analyst at a Portuguese pharma company.

Host institution Karolinska University Hospital (SLL) ,Stockholm, Sweden
Supervisor Prof Edvard Smith
Co-Supervisors Prof Ling Peng (academic), CNRS Marseille, France
Prof. Alex Mirnezami (clinician), Southampton University Hospital, Southampton, UK
Dr. Rula Zain (academic), SLL, Sweden

Project description

The aim of this ESR PhD project will be the development of an enhanced invasion system with improved performance for down-regulating the expression of the HTT gene and upregulating expression of the Frataxin gene, FXN ; current treatment strategies for HD and FRDA do not involve targeting of chromosomal DNA which would yield a novel and unique treatment strategy.


This project is carried out in strong collaboration with the following groups:

Host laboratory

CRC is a research hotel facility hoasted by SLL. The research groups at CRC has highly qualified staffs consisting of physicians, molecular biologists, cell biologists and engineers. Research activities in the Smith/Zain group are focused on rare diseases caused by increased number of nucleotide repeats. Using oligonucleotides to target non-B-DNA structures in the genome, the aim is to increase or decrease the expression from the disease-causing gene. Additional areas of interest are the development of new diagnostic methods through non-PCR based sequencing and studies on the effect of BTK inhibitors on B-cell malignancies.

The group has full access to state-of-the-art molecular biology laboratories, with equipment for oligonucleotide transfer, such as particle measurement NanoSight apparatus, UV-crosslinking equipment and cell culture rooms, microscopy and fully equipped GMP facilities.

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