Prof. E.M.A. Aronica (1965) has been appointed professor of Neuropathology at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA).
Eleonora Aronica is actively involved in different lines of research including neuro-oncology, neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy. She has both clinical and fundamental scientific research experience. Her research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis, epileptogenesis and pharmacoresistance of focal chronic pharmacoresistant epilepsy, as well as featuring translational aspects. The aim is to find an effective treatment for patients with epilepsy by mapping biological and molecular signalling pathways that contribute towards the development and progression of epilepsy and associated comorbidity. Neuropathological studies have contributed towards identifying important signalling pathways, such as the mammalian target or rapamycin route, which plays a role in the pathogenesis of a broad spectrum of developmental brain disorders. In search of an effective therapy aimed at pathological neuro-inflammation, Aronica studies the control mechanisms of inflammatory processes. In addition, her research group also focuses on microRNAs, non-coding pieces of RNA that regulate the expression of genes. Her group also focuses on identifying new biomarkers to characterise the different stages of epileptogenesis and to predict and diagnose the development of the disease. She is also involved in developing an integrated clinical-pathological-genetic classification system for developmental brain disorders and epilepsy-associated tumours. This integrated diagnostic approach will be implemented in the field of neuropathology.
As a professor at the UvA, Aronica will be focusing on neuropathological and applied research for patients with neurological diseases. She cooperates closely with research groups within the Brain Mechanisms research programme of Amsterdam Neuroscience (UvA-AMC & VUmc; SILS-CNS) and with research groups from other university medical centres and Stichting Epilepsie Instellingen Nederland (SEIN).
Aronica has been associated with the Neuropathology department of the AMC since 1998. In 2007, she was appointed as a neuropathologist and the principal investigator there. In 2012, she was named professor by special appointment of Nervous System Pathology, especially regarding epileptic disorders, at the UvA’s Faculty of Science. Aronica obtained her doctorate cum laude at the UvA in 1993 after studying medicine and surgery at the University of Catania (Italy), where she completed her studies as a neurologist.
Aronica has obtained several research grants, including from the European Union FP7 Health Programme, Horizon 2020, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), the National Epilepsy Foundation (Stichting Nationaal Epilepsie Fonds), the Foundation for Epilepsy Institutions in the Netherlands, the Kinderen Kankervrij (KiKa) paediatric cancer foundation, the Knip Fund and the TSC Fund. She is also actively involved in developing guidelines for the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). In 2011, she was awarded the Michael Prize. This international prize is awarded every two years to a young researcher for providing the most significant contribution towards epilepsy research. She has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and several chapters for books.