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Dr Elena Koudouna

Dr Elena Koudouna

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

Overview

After completion of my PhD studies within the Structural Biophysics Group at Cardiff University, I was awarded a JSPS Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science  to perform post-doctoral studies at Doshisha University in Japan for 2 years where I investigated the loss of corneal endothelial cells following corneal penetrating keratoplasty. Following that, I spent 1 year at Prof James Jester group at University of California, Irvine, USA investigating cell-matrix relationship between corneal structure and function during corneal development. Thereafter, I continued this line of research as a research associate within the Structural Biophysics Group at Cardiff University. In 2018, I was awarded a prestigious 3-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship to examine the ocular therapeutic potential of genipin, a natural cross-linker with antimicrobial properties derived from the plant Gardenia jasminoides, as a safe and effective treatment for very thin, weakened corneas, and for cases of infectious keratitis, which is a major worldwide cause of visual impairment and blindness. During this fellowship I will spend time working alongside Ophthalmologists and scientists at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota, Colombia to elucidate genipin's antimicrobial mechanism of action against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, and pathogenic fungi and also to investigate the crosslinking efficacy of genipin. 

Biography

Education

  • 2010 –2014 - Ph.D Structural Biophysics: School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • 2009- 2010 -  MSc Biomedicine: Division of Life & Medical Sciences, Lancaster University, UK
  • 2006 –2009 - BSc (Hons) Cell Biology with Biomedicine: Division of Life & Medical Sciences, Lancaster University, UK

 

Honours and awards

  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Travel Fellowship (2020)
  • CITER Travel Conference Award (2020)
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Global Fellowship (2018)
  • Cardiff University “Rising Star” Award (2018): An early career academic prize given by Cardiff University to an individual member of staff who has substantially grown in their role within a relatively short period of time
  • CITER “Young Investigator” Award (2018): Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER) Young Award presented annually to a researcher within 5 years of obtaining their PhD, who has made the most significant contribution to basic, translational or clinical research within the general CITER remit, and who has excelled in the early stages of their research career.
  • International Society for Eye Research (ISER) Travel Grant Fellowship (2016)
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Short-Term Post- Doctoral Fellowship (2014)
  • British Society for Matrix Biology (BSMB) Conference Bursary (2013)
  • Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER) Conference Bursary (2013)
  • Cardiff University Sir Martin Evans President's PhD Studentship (2010-2013)

                    

Professional memberships

  • The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • The U.S. Department of State, International Exchange Alumni Member
  • International Society for Eye Research (ISER)
  • British Society for Matrix Biology (BSMB)
  • UK Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Alumni Association

Academic positions

  • 2019 – present -  Marie Skĺodowska Curie Fellow: Structural Biophysics Research Group, School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK (1 year); Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Bogota DC, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota Colombia (2 years)
  • 2018 – 2019 - Research Associate: Structural Biophysics Research Group, School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • 2016 – 2017 - Research Associate: Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
  • 2015 – 2016 - Research Associate: Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
  • 2014 – 2015 - Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Post-Doctoral Fellow: Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
  • 2010 – 2013 - Undergraduate Laboratory Demonstrator, OPTOM, Cardiff University: School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University

Speaking engagements

  • Women in Vision UK, Winter Virtual Meeting, Dec 10-11 2020, United Kingdom: Presented my work entitled “Genipin Corneal Crosslinking for the Treatment of Infectious Keratitis”
  • XXXIX Virtual National and International Congress of Ophthalmology, Aug 15-17 2020, Colombia: Invited to present my research entitled “Corneal endothelial cell loss following DSAEK: Immune cells on the corneal endothelium of an allogeneic corneal transplantation rabbit model.”
  • XX National Congress of Pharmaceutical Chemistry (ACEQF), Nov 1-2 2019, Barranquilla, Colombia: Invited to give a podium presentation of my research entitled “Biophysical and cellular mechanisms defining corneal structure in development and disease.”
  • Horizon 2020 Event in Colombia with EURAXESS participation at Universidad del Rosario, Oct 8-11, Bogota, Colombia: Invited to give a talk regarding my experience on MSCA and writing application tips.
  • Universidad del Atlántico, Nov 9 2017, Barranquilla, Colombia: Invited to give a seminar on cell-matrix interactions during development and collagen organization in the cornea.
  • ISER 2016 – XXII Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research, Sept 25-26 2016, Tokyo, Japan: Invited to give a podium talk to present my work entitled, “Collagen fiber organization in chick corneal development”. This work summarised my findings obtained during my post-doctoral work in Prof. Jester’s laboratory at the University of California, Irvine, USA.

Committees and reviewing

Organization of International Conferences

  • Feb 2018 – Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) Cornea & Ocular Surface Biology & Pathology: “Progress in Anterior Eye Research in Development, Health, Disease, and Regeneration”, Feb 17-18 2018, Ventura, California, USA (https://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?id=16469). Elected co-chair and co-organiser along with Dr James Foster (John Hopkins University) of the GRS; held in conjunction with the Gordon Research Conference (Feb 18-23 2018) chaired and organised by Dr Shigeto Shimmura (Keio University School of Medicine, Japan) and Prof. Julie Daniels (UCL, UK). The event was focused on early career vision researchers, including a mentoring session from international leading scientists. Keynote speakers included Prof. Shigeru Kinoshita (Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan).
  • Nov 2017 – JSPS/BBSRC Symposium: “Stem Cells and the Eye”, Nov 2-3 2017, Cardiff, Wales, UK. Co-organiser along with Prof. Andrew Quantock (Cardiff University, UK), Prof. Kohji Nishida (Osaka University, Japan), Dr Koji Kitazawa (Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan) and Dr Alina Akhbanbetova (Cardiff University). The event was opened by the Rt. Hon. Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, and included presentations by Prof. Sir Martin Evans, FRS of Cardiff University and Dr Masayo Takahashi of the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology, Japan.

Publications

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2013

2011

My research focuses on investigating cell-matrix interactions that define tissue structure and function using a range of cellular/molecular techniques and advances in 3D structural imaging modalities, with an overarching aim to understand matrix deposition and tissue architecture.

Publications

Ashworth S, Harrington J, Hammond GM, Bains KK, Koudouna E, Hayes AJ, Ralphs JR, Regini JW, Young RD, Hayashi R, Nishida K, Hughes CE, Quantock AJ (2020) Chondroitin Sulfate as a potential modulator of the stem cell niche in cornea. Front Cell Dev Biol. Doi: 10.3389/fcell.2020.567358

Young RD, Knupp C, Koudouna E, Ralphs JR, Ma Y, Lwigale PY, Jester JV, Quantock AJ. (2020) Observations on nascent matrix structures in embryonic cornea: important in cell interactions, or merely vestiges of the lens surface? Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2, 67 -72

Koudouna E, Spurlin J, Babushkina A, Quantock AJ, Jester JV, Lwigale P. (2020) Recapitulation of normal collagen architecture in embryonic wounded corneas. Sci Rep. 10, 13815

Young RD, Knupp C, Koudouna E, Ma Y, Lwigale P, Ralphs JR, Jester JV, Quantock AJ. (2019) Cell-independent matrix configuration in early corneal development. Exp Eye Res. 187: 107772

 Koudouna E, Young RD, Overby DR, Ueno M, Kinoshita S, Knupp C, Quantock AJ. (2019) Ultrastructure variability of the juxtacanalicular tissue along the inner wall of Schlemm´s canal. Mol Vis. 25: 517-526

Young RD, Knupp C, Koudouna E, Ralphs JR, Ma Y, Lwigale PY, Jester JV, Quantock AJ. (2019) Cell-independent matrix configuration in early corneal development. Exp Eye Res. 187: 107772

Koudouna E, Mikula E, Brown DJ, Young RD., Quantock AJ. (2018) Cell regulation of collagen fibril macrostructure during corneal morphogenesis. Acta Biomaterialia 79: 96-112

Hwang H-S, Xie Y, Koudouna E, Na K-S, Yoo Y-S, Yang S-W, Brown DJ, Jester JV. (2018) Light transmission/absorption characteristics of the Meibomian gland. Ocular Surface. 16: 448-453

Koudouna E, Winkler M, Mikula E, Juhasz T, Brown DJ, Jester JV. (2018) Evolution of the vertebrate corneal stroma. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research. S1350-9462(17)30120-9.

Gouveia RM, Koudouna E, Jester JV, Figueiredo F, Connon CJ. (2017) Template curvature influences cell alignment to create improved human corneal tissue equivalents. Advanced Biosystems 1700135.

 Koudouna E, Okumura N, Okazaki Y, Nakano S, Inoue R, Fullwood NJ, Hori J, Kinoshita S, Koizumi N. (2017) Immune Cells on the Corneal Endothelium of an Allogeneic Corneal Transplantation Rabbit Model. Invest OphthalmoL Vis Sci. 58: 242-251

 Koudouna E, Young RD, Ueno M, Kinoshita S, Knupp C, Quantock AJ. (2014) Three-dimensional architecture of collagen type VI in the human trabecular meshwork. Mol Vis. 20:38- 648.

 Veronesi G, Koudouna E, Cotte M, Martin FL, Quantock AJ. (2013) X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy identifies differential sulfur speciation in corneal tissue. Anal Bioanal Chem.. 405:6613-6620.

 Koudouna E, Veronesi G, Patel II, Cotte M, Knupp C, Martin FL, Quantock AJ. (2012) Chemical composition and sulfur speciation in bulk tissue by x-ray spectroscopy and x-ray microscopy: Corneal development during embryogenesis. Biophys J. 103:357-364.

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