Andrea Maddalena

Research Assistant

Hi there, I am Andrea Maddalena and I come from Schio, a small town in the north-east of Italy. I studied biotechnology at the University of Padova and I did my master thesis in Geneve, Switzerland, working on human embryonic stem cells and lentivirus. After the master I moved to Göttingen, in Germany, for my Phd where I worked on an AAV-based gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease. After the graduation, I moved to Napoli, back in Italy, where I worked at TIGEM. Here I worked on AAV-based gene therapy for retinal disease, specifically Usher syndrome. After 4 and half years in Napoli I decided to move back to Switzerland and now here I am in Bern.
Here I keep on working on AAV-based gene therapy for retinal diseases (of course…); in particular, I am following 2 main projects where I aim to transform ON-bipolar cells (the second order of neurons of the retina) into photoreceptor-like cells, which are the first cells to degenerate in this class of disease. To do this, I am using different kind of CRISPR/Cas systems to either knock-in optogenetic tools in retinal cells, or to activate the transcription of endogenous opsins in the same target cells. These approached are tested on blind mice with the hope to reactivate their visual function.