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Irini Skaliora is a neuroscientist with a long-standing interest in the development and plasticity of the central nervous system. She received her PhD in Neurobiology from the University of California, Davis, under the supervision of Leo Chalupa. She then worked at the University of Oxford, in the groups of Colin Blakemore and Andrew King, before moving back to Greece to set up her own lab at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (in 2007). She has had extensive training in cellular neurophysiology since the time of her PhD, where she was the first to study the development of excitability in retinal ganglion cells during the period of activity-dependent refinement of neuronal projections. In further work she examined the development of connections between thalamus and cortex and the role of semaphorins in growth cone guidance. To that end, Dr. Skaliora developed the first in-vitro preparation for live imaging of individual thalamocortical axons as they grow towards their target structures in the cortex. More recently her research focused on the maturation of local connections in the multisensory structures of the midbrain. These studies documented the presence of direct topographically organized inputs converging from visual and auditory areas, and showed that the two inputs are spatially and temporally independent of each other, thus setting the stage for further examining the alignment of sensory maps during development.
Taken together, these studies had the common goal of examining the mechanisms that underlie cellular and synaptic plasticity during critical developmental periods. Current work is aimed at extending these previous studies to functional deficits that result from exposure to adverse early experience, as well as those observed during normal aging and neurodegeneration. A major goal is to develop appropriate methods for assessing the functional state of the cerebral cortex in vitro, which can be used to evaluate the intrinsic connectivity during development and in pathological conditions. Dr. Skaliora’s group is using a wide spectrum of experimental techniques, ranging from animal behaviour to electrophysiology and high-resolution confocal imaging for the 3D analysis of neuronal morphology, in order to identify structure-function relationships in the maintenance and breakdown of homeostasis as markers of brain pathophysiology. Dr Skaliora is the co-author of papers in peer-reviewed international journals, three book chapters, as well as several publications on the historical and theoretical framework of neuroscience. She is a member of the governing Councils of the Hellenic Society for Neuroscience and the Hellenic Society for Cognitive Science. She is a full member of the DANA Alliance for the Brain and has given many public lectures on neuroscience topics. Her work is funded by grants from the European Union and the General Secretariat of Research and Technology.
Konsolaki E and Skaliora I (2014): Premature aging phenotype in mice lacking high affinity nicotinic receptors: region specific changes in layer V pyramidal cell morphology. Cerebral Cortex, epub ahead of print Feb 18.
Σκαλιόρα Ε (2012) «H νόηση ως φαινόμενο εντός του φυσικού κόσμου», Σύναψις 25: 60-62.
Rigas P, Sigalas C and Skaliora I (2011): Developmental regulation of spontaneous network activity in mouse cortical slices. J Neurochem 118, Suppl.1: 78.
Σκαλιόρα Ε (2009) «Η έρευνα για τον εγκέφαλο ως προς τη συνείδηση: απόπειρα πλαισίωσης», Νόησις, 5: 135-155.
Σκαλιόρα Ε (2006) «Η Χαρτογράφηση του Εγκεφάλου και του Νου: Από τον Gall στο Γονιδίωμα», Σύναψις, τεύχος 3: 64-76.
King AJ, Doubell TP and Skaliora I (2004) “Epigenetic factors that align visual and auditory maps in the ferret midbrain” in ‘Handbook of Multisensory Processes’, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA (editors, G. Calvert, C. Spence and B. Stein), p 599-612.
Skaliora I, Doubell TP, Holmes NP, Nodal FR. and King AJ (2004) Functional topography of converging visual and auditory inputs to neurons in the rat superior colliculus. J Neurophysiol 92: 2933-2946.
Doubell TP, Skaliora I, Baron J and King AJ (2003) Functional connectivity between the superficial and deeper layers of the superior colliculus: an anatomical substrate for sensorimotor integration. J Neurosci 23: 6596-6607.
Skaliora I and Pagakis SN (2001) “Imaging neuronal morphology and growth” in ‘Confocal and Two-Photon Microscopy: Foundations, Applications and Advances’, John Wiley and Sons (editor: Dr A. Diaspro).
Skaliora I, Adams R and Blakemore C (2000) Morphology and growth patterns of developing thalamocortical axons. J Neurosci 20: 3650-3662.
Skaliora I, Singer W, Betz H and Püschel AW (1998) Differential patterns of semaphorin expression in the developing rat brain. Eur J Neurosci 10: 1215-1229.
Skaliora I, Scobey RP and Chalupa LM (1993) Prenatal development of excitability in cat retinal ganglion cells: Action potentials and sodium currents. J Neurosci 13: 313-323.