April 2012 Researcher of the Month - Judyta Juranek, PhD

Judyta Juranek, PhDResearch Interests
My current postdoctoral research focuses on the Receptor of Advanced Glycation End-Products (RAGE) and its most prominent ligands in pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, mainly sensorimotor diabetic neuropathy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

RAGE, a multiligand cell-surface immunoglobulin receptor has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of diseases from diabetes to cardiovascular diseases to neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS or Alzheimer’s.  Research has shown that the elevated level of RAGE and its binding to Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) triggers cascades of metabolic changes leading to exaggerated cell and tissue damage.

My research studies, divided into three different sub-studies have brought promising and potentially highly therapeutic results. One of  the studies centered on the contribution of RAGE to nerve regeneration and outgrowth in chronic diabetes after superimposed peripheral nerve acute injury.  Results have implied that blockade of RAGE is likely to slow down diabetes related neurological changes and facilitate post-injury nerve regeneration in diabetic conditions. Results are currently being prepared for publication.

Abstracts and meetings attended
April 2011: Meeting of the Polish Society of Veterinary Sciences, Olsztyn, Poland
November 2010: Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, USA
October 2010 IX: Congress of the Polish Society of Clinical Neurophysiology, Cracow, Poland
November 2008:  Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, USA
September 2007: XLII Congress of the Polish Histochemical and Cytochemical Society, Poznan, Poland
September 2006 XLI Symposium of the Polish Histochemical and Cytochemical Society, Poland
September 2005 VII International Symposium of the Polish Neuroscience Society, Cracow, Poland
June 2005: XXI Congress of the Polish Anatomical Society, Kielce, Poland
November 2004: Meeting of the Polish Society of Veterinary Sciences, Olsztyn, Poland
June 2000: National meeting of Polish Student Scientific Anatomical Circles, Wroclaw, Poland
May 1999: National meeting of Polish Student Scientific Anatomical Circles, Poznan, Poland

1.  J. Wojtkiewicz, J. Juranek, I. Kowalski, M. Bladowski, J. Całka, M. Majewski. Immunohistochemical characterization of superior cervical ganglion neurons supplying porcine parotid salivary gland. Neurosci Lett. 2011 500 (1): 57-62

2.   J. Juranek, A. Aleshin, E. Rattigan, L. Johnson, W. Qu, F. Song, R. Ananthakrishnan, N. Quadri, SD. Yan, R. Ramasamy, AM. Schmidt, M. Geddis. Morphological Changes and Immunohistochemical Expression of RAGE and its Ligands in the Sciatic Nerve of Hyperglycemic Pig (Sus Scrofa). Biochemistry Insights 2010 (3): 47-59

3.    J. Juranek, K. Mukherjee Piccolo and Bassoon. Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, Elsevier. 2009 p. 707-711 
4.  I. Brunk, C. Blex, C. Sanchis-Segura, J. Sternberg, S. Perreau-Lenz, A. Bilbao, H. Hörtnagl, J. Baron,  J. Juranek, G. Laube, L. Birnbaumer, R. Spanagel, G. Ahnert-Hilger. Deletion of Go2α abolishes cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization by disturbing the striatal dopamine system. The FASEB Journal. 2008 22: 3736-3746

5.  J. Całka, A. Zasadowski, J. Juranek. Some aspects of green tea curative effects. Bromat. Chem. Toksykol. 2008 1: 5 – 14

6.  J. Calka, J. Juranek, K. Wasowicz,  J. Kaleczyc, M. Lakomy. Distribution and morphology of ChAT- and VAChT –immunoreactive neurons in the tuberal hypothalamus of the pig. Med. Wet. 2007 63(4): 412-415.

7.  J. Juranek, J. Całka, M. Łakomy. Synaptic active zone proteins as coordinators of nervous system neurotransmission.  Humanistyka i przyrodoznastwo. 2007 13: 273 – 280

8.  J. Juranek, K. Mukherjee, M. Rickmann, H. Martens, J. Calka, T. Sudhof, R. Jahn. Differential expression of active zone proteins in neuromuscular junctions suggests functional diversification. Eur. J. Neurosci. 2006 24(11): 3043-3052.

9.  J. Kaleczyc, J. Juranek, J.Calka, M. Lakomy. Immunohistochemical characterization of porcine ciliary ganglion. Pol. J. Vet. Sci. 2005 8(1): 65-72.

10.  M.Wisniewska, J. Madany, A. Pomianowski, J. Juranek. Obesity in carnivores. Pol. J. Vet. Sci. 2005 8(4):329-335. Review

Future Plans
In my future research I would like to focus on:

  • comprehension of common molecular mechanisms underlying neurological disorders, particularly neurodegenerative diseases
  • indentifying and tracing early biological and neurocognitive markers of these diseases and developing treatments leading to their subsequent remission.

While it is has been common knowledge that different neurological diseases reveal diverse, disease specific pathological features upon histological examination at their late stage, it is becoming clear that, during the course of the disease, different neurodegenerative diseases may display similar histopathological changes and clinical symptoms thus raising the question as to whether there might be one common molecular pathway, “a missing link”, a set of proteins, (a neurodegenerative, evolutionary conserved molecular core) identical or at least similar for various neurodegenerative disorders in their early stages. Identifying the core would help us better understand, diagnose and prevent or slow the progress of neurodegenerative disorders.