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Alberto Polleri

Alberto came to our lab as a post doctoral fellow after receiving a degree in physics and provided the first quantitive model of Ca2+/Calcineurin/NFAT Signaling (Nature 2006). His modeling provided an understanding of this pathway in Down Syndrome and indicated that the triplication of the DSCR1(RCAN) gene and the Dyrk1a gene on chromosome 21 act synergistically to remove NFATc proteins from the nucleus, thereby producing a pan-NFAT hylomorphic state and many if not most of the characteristics of Down Syndrome. He also found that this synergy works with intrinsic feedback loops within the pathway in such a way that the pathway fails with minimal increases in the dosage of DSCR1 and Dyrk1a. His work may also explain why the most effective immunosuppressants (Cyclosporin A and FK506) work at concentrations that only inhibit 1/2 of the activity of calcineurin. Calcium-dependent pathways are proving to be among the best for quantitive modeling because of the precision with which Ca2+ can be measured. As of July 2009, Alberto is Head of the Quantitative Systems Biology Group at Imperial College in London. He can be reached at: