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Grants & Prizes

ANA 2023 Best Thesis Award

Gloria Colombo PhD

Congratulation to Gloria Colombo, winner of the ANA Best Thesis Award 2023!

Her work focused on microglia and the development of a new algorithm for morphological cell characterization. Her innovative system, called MorphOMICs, combines the topological morphology descriptor, bootstrapping, dimensionality reduction, and data visualization techniques.

What does it mean? Morphological heterogeneity underlies a diversity among microglia cells that is still poorly resolved: thanks to her new strategy of analysis, Gloria discovered and mapped region-specific morphologies of microglia cells in the brain. She found that in the healthy brain sex-specific phenotype declines with maturation. However, different morphologies increases in some diseases, with females showing a faster morphological than males.

When she applied the power of her new analysis tool MorphOMICs to pathological models, Gloria’s could identify sexual dimorphisms in microglia in the course of Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, she discovered permanent drug-induced effects (ketamine) on microglia morphology.

To stay updated on Gloria work, follow her on Twitter and check out the details of her findings on 

For news on microglia-neuron interaction, follow the excellent works of the Sandra Siegert Group, ISTA Vienna

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