My main research focuses on cellular neuroscience and I am particularly interested in studying the molecular and cellular mechanism underlying neurodegenerative diseases. During my scientific career, I received broad academic training and my research interest shifted from physics to neuroscience. This interdisciplinary background allowed me to develop a good knowledge of the most common biological and biochemical techniques, and enabled me to apply the latest developments in nanotechnology and imaging to neuroscience. My PhD project aimed at unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying the force generation in neuronal growth cones. To address this issue, I have investigated in detail the role of several important players in force generation such as membrane stiffness, actin turnover and myosin II. As a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Giuseppe Legname, I was involved in different research projects related to protein misfolding and neurodegenerative diseases. My main research project was focused on defining the physiological function of prion protein (PrP) by analyzing its role on neurite guidance and signaling.
In order to extend my knowledge in neurodegeneration field, I joined Dr. Harris’ Laboratory. I am particularly excited about this opportunity, which complements my previous knowledge by introducing me to the field of Alzheimer’s disease, and is helping me to learn new skills in protein chemistry and cell biology for which the Harris laboratory is known.
Currently, my research project focuses on identifying the molecular mechanism by which amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregates interact with cell surface receptors including cellular prion protein (PrPC). In this work, I am using a multi-disciplinary approach combining single molecule super-resolution microscopy, biochemical and biophysical assays, and cell-based neurotoxicity experiments to measure the dynamics and kinetics of Aβ interactions with its membrane receptors. Analyzing several Aβ-receptor systems in parallel reveals common molecular mechanisms by which receptors interact with pathologically relevant Aβ aggregates to transduce neurotoxic signals. The results of this research are providing new details about Aβ aggregation and fibril growth, and they are relevant for developing new therapeutic approaches for Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, the experimental approaches I use open up the possibility of probing the mechanism of action of other agents that affect Aβ aggregation, such as small molecules, inhibitors and antibodies. Altogether, this study is providing important insights into a molecular origin of disease, and the development of therapeutic approaches.
- Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati, PhD
- Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, MS
- Published on 2/19/2022
Shafiq M, Da Vela S, Amin L, Younas N, Harris DA, Zerr I, Altmeppen HC, Svergun D, Glatzel M. The prion protein and its ligands: Insights into structure-function relationships. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2022 06; 1869(6):119240. PMID: 35192891.
- Published on 11/24/2021
Linsenmeier L, Mohammadi B, Shafiq M, Frontzek K, Bär J, Shrivastava AN, Damme M, Song F, Schwarz A, Da Vela S, Massignan T, Jung S, Correia A, Schmitz M, Puig B, Hornemann S, Zerr I, Tatzelt J, Biasini E, Saftig P, Schweizer M, Svergun D, Amin L, Mazzola F, Varani L, Thapa S, Gilch S, Schätzl H, Harris DA, Triller A, Mikhaylova M, Aguzzi A, Altmeppen HC, Glatzel M. Ligands binding to the prion protein induce its proteolytic release with therapeutic potential in neurodegenerative proteinopathies. Sci Adv. 2021 Nov 26; 7(48):eabj1826. PMID: 34818048.
- Published on 7/12/2021
D'Arrigo G, Gabrielli M, Scaroni F, Swuec P, Amin L, Pegoraro A, Adinolfi E, Di Virgilio F, Cojoc D, Legname G, Verderio C. Astrocytes-derived extracellular vesicles in motion at the neuron surface: Involvement of the prion protein. J Extracell Vesicles. 2021 Jul; 10(9):e12114. PMID: 34276899.
- Published on 6/8/2021
Amin L, Harris DA. Aß receptors specifically recognize molecular features displayed by fibril ends and neurotoxic oligomers. Nat Commun. 2021 06 08; 12(1):3451. PMID: 34103486.
- Published on 9/2/2016
Amin L, Nguyen XT, Rolle IG, D'Este E, Giachin G, Tran TH, Šerbec VC, Cojoc D, Legname G. Characterization of prion protein function by focal neurite stimulation. J Cell Sci. 2016 10 15; 129(20):3878-3891. PMID: 27591261.
- Published on 8/17/2016
Slapšak U, Salzano G, Amin L, Abskharon RN, Ilc G, Zupancic B, Biljan I, Plavec J, Giachin G, Legname G. The N Terminus of the Prion Protein Mediates Functional Interactions with the Neuronal Cell Adhesion Molecule (NCAM) Fibronectin Domain. J Biol Chem. 2016 Oct 14; 291(42):21857-21868. PMID: 27535221.
- Published on 5/31/2016
Yousafzai MS, Coceano G, Mariutti A, Ndoye F, Amin L, Niemela J, Bonin S, Scoles G, Cojoc D. Effect of neighboring cells on cell stiffness measured by optical tweezers indentation. J Biomed Opt. 2016 05 31; 21(5):57004. PMID: 27232596.
- Published on 1/1/2016
Prada I, Amin L, Furlan R, Legname G, Verderio C, Cojoc D. A new approach to follow a single extracellular vesicle-cell interaction using optical tweezers. Biotechniques. 2016 Jan; 60(1):35-41. PMID: 26757810.
- Published on 1/19/2015
Sayyad WA, Amin L, Fabris P, Ercolini E, Torre V. The role of myosin-II in force generation of DRG filopodia and lamellipodia. Sci Rep. 2015 Jan 19; 5:7842. PMID: 25598228.
- Published on 8/21/2013
Amin L, Ercolini E, Ban J, Torre V. Comparison of the force exerted by hippocampal and DRG growth cones. PLoS One. 2013; 8(8):e73025. PMID: 23991169.
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