Dr. Helena Mira is Head of the Stem cells and Aging Laboratory, at the Instituto de Biomedicina de Valencia (IBV-CSIC), Spain. She received her PhD. in Biology from the University of Valencia in 2000. She was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Salk Institute (U.S.) and at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) until 2004. She returned to the University of Valencia (Spain) as a Ramon y Cajal Program recipient, she started her independent group at the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Madrid, Spain) in 2008 and was recruited to the IBV-CSIC in 2016.
Dr. Mira has focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult brain. Her current emphasis is on the aging perspective. Her lab explores both cell intrinsic and cell extrinsic (niche) contributions to the aging phenotype. In addition to addressing basic questions, her long-term research interests include the development of stem cell-based strategies for the treatment of agerelated neurodegenerative disorders. Great part of her effort has been recently directed to the regulation of quiescence, a unique property of many tissue-specific adult stem cells. Although the quiescent state serves an essential role in preserving stem cell function until the stem cell is needed in tissue homeostasis or repair, defects in quiescence can lead to an impaired tissue function. The extent to which aging and disease regulate NSC quiescence is unknown. In the brain, we have found that the BMP pathway not only controls quiescence of normal resident NSCs, but also regulates the growth of tumor initiating cells/cancer stem cells isolated from high grade gliomas.
Dr. Mira has actively collaborated with experts in the stem cell field. She was selected as Associate PI by the European Federation for Systematic Stem Cell Biology (EU Framework 7) in 2009 and is part of the NEUROSTEMCM network since 2012. She is also founding member of the Spanish Network of Adult Neurogenesis (RENA). She has been actively involved in PhD/Master thesis programs and in national and international symposia, both as a speaker and as an organizer. She has been reviewer for international grants and journals, and is part of the Editorial board of Brain Plasticity since 2014.