Silvia Piccirillo obtained her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Applied Biology at University Politecnica of Marche in Ancona, Italy. She subsequently won a fellowship for an internship program at Sbarro Institute at Temple University, Philadelphia, and she then decided to pursue a Ph.D. in the pharmacology section of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Public Health at the University Politecnica of Marche, under the supervision of Prof. Salvatore Amoroso.
In the course of her Ph.D. studies, Silvia focused on studying the pathophysiological role of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) in cardiac and neuronal ischemic models. She explored the use of alternative energetic sources other than glucose, in particular glutamate, as a feasible strategy to stimulate brain cell metabolism and provide an effective brake to ischemic injury. In particular, Silvia found that both NCX and Excitatory AminoAcid Transporter (EAAT) activities are required to achieve glutamate neuroprotection.
Silvia is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the pharmacology section of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Public Health at the University Politecnica of Marche. She has been exploring the hypothesis that NCX-dependent control of calcium signaling and metabolic use of glutamate are important in a broad spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Recently, she has been investigating the enhancement of glutamate dehydrogenase activity as a possible strategy to improve cell survival in Parkinson’s disease. Her postdoctoral research will take place at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, hosted by Prof. Israel Sekler.