Dr Alessandro Bani PhD Student
University of Verona
Verona, Italy

I am currently a third-year PhD student in the field of neuroimmunology, with a specific focus on the study of neuroinflammatory mechanisms in the context of multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). As an undergraduate student, my research career started in prof. Sozzani’s Immunology lab at the University of Brescia, where I studied the role of atypical chemokine receptors in the regulation of neutrophils trafficking. During this project, I became familiar with Forster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) technique and in vitrounderflow adhesion assays, which encompassed a broad array of upstream experimental procedures including molecular and cellular biology techniques. Moreover, this experience allowed me to have a first approach to microscopy and image analysis that would prove valuable for the following research experience. I joined prof. Constantin’s group as a master student and my project aimed to characterize the phenotype of central nervous system (CNS)-infiltrated neutrophils during EAE course, with a focus on a novel molecular marker of neutrophil activation and its role in cell trafficking to the inflammatory site. In those months, I gained insight into neuroinflammatory mechanisms and EAE animal models. At the experimental level, I had the opportunity to learn how to handle mice, collect CNS components and perform flow cytometry studies. Following my master’s degree, I was awarded with a PhD scholarship in prof. Constantin’s lab, where I am currently dissecting neutrophils phenotype during EAE by analyzing scRNA-seq transcriptomic data. Specifically, we are studying neutrophils functions to assess how they impact on other CNS-resident cell populations, especially in the context of meningeal inflammation. Besides developing important bioinformatic skills, I acquired expertise in in vitroimaging techniques that allowed me to collaborate with other lab members and other research groups, investigating neuro-immune interactions in different neurological settings, including Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from neutrophils, I am also committed to the study of the mechanisms regulating CD4+ T cell trafficking to the CNS during acute EAE. This effort led to the recent publication of an original article and a review