Dr Sylwia Ammoun
Senior Research Fellow
Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)
EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATIONS
PhD dissertation, Uppsala University, Sweden, Orexin Receptors in Recombinant CHO Cells. Signaling to Short- and Long Term Cells responses
Transfer, Uppsala University, Sweden
Degree of Master of Science, Uppsala University, Sweden Immunomodulatory-and-cytokine gene-cancer therapy
BScs, Uppsala University, Sweden
Member of South of England Brain Tumour Alliance (SEBTA)
I enjoy sharing myknowledge and always appreciate teaching in which I have 18 years of experience.
Uppsala University, Sweden
From 1998 to 2005 I taughtmedical-, pharmacology- and nurse-students in the following subjects:hemodynamics (blood-vascular circulation-system), safety of medical equipment(current), optical refraction of the eye, heart anatomy (dissection), oscilloscopeand pacemaker and muscle structure and function. During this time I alsosupervised undergraduate and BSc biomedical students and lab assistants.
Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry,Plymouth, UK
From 2006 until present Ihave supervised PhD, BSc and undergraduate students indifferent projects.Between 2006 and 2007 I taught medical students in 'Neurodegenerativedisorders' and 'Disease prevention and management-vaccines ‘and 2019 biomedicalstudents in 'Tumours of the nervous system'.
2014 Internaland External Doctoral Examiners training
2011 Learningand Teaching for general Teaching Associates (GTA) training including: Theoriesof Learning and Teaching, Planning Sessions and Delivering Presentations,Learning in Groups, Evaluating Teaching and Giving Feedback, Assessment,Dealing with difficult Situations and Assessment Criteria and Marketing.
2008 Problem-basedlearning (PBL) facilitator training.
During my career I have been working ondifferent projects including: 1) The development of immunomodulatory cancervaccines to treat Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) (Clinical Immunology),2)Investigation of the role of endogenous retroviruses in Multiple Sclerosis(MS)(Clinical Virology) and 3) Revealing the signalling of orexinergic receptorstowards cell fate determination(Neuroscience).
Since January 2006 I have been workingat Professor Oliver Hanemann’s laboratory (Plymouth University Peninsula Schoolsof Medicine and Dentistry, The Institute of Translational and StratifiedMedicine). My work has entered on dissecting the signalling pathways involvedin the development of Merlin-deficient tumours in order to find specific andeffective therapeutic targets. I have successfully achieved external fundingfrom six different charities where I was lead or singleapplicant. Additionally, I have published ten first authored papers, onepaper as Director of studies and one book chapter and one invited article inNature Reviews Neurology. I have also contributed to six other papers publishedby my colleagues.
Ph.D. studentssupervision: three PhD students- first supervisor (DoS, onecompleted2018), 1- co-supervisor (DoS, completed 2018), 1- co-supervisor.
Our research team havereceived an award from Neurofibromatosis (NF) Advocature in recognition of ourresearch and continued commitment to NF2. Additionally, my work within theNF2 field contributed to phase 0 clinical trials at our unit in collaboration withManchester Hospital. My main goal is to find a good drug treatment for schwannomasand other Merlin-deficient tumours.
1. p53/mouse double minute 2homolog complex deregulation in Merlin-deficient tumours
This project involved investigation of the role of p53 deregulation inschwannoma development and targeting pathways involved in p53 degradation. Inthis project I was first author.
2. Gas6/Axl-family receptors in schwannoma pathological proliferation, adhesionand survival
In this project we have investigated the role of Axl receptor inschwannoma pathological proliferation, cell-matrix adhesion and survival. Inthis project I was first and corresponding author.
1. The role of insulin-like growth factors (IGF1/2) signalling inMerlin-deficient human schwannomas
2. Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) regulates human schwannomaproliferation, adhesion and survival
In these studies we have demonstrated that IGF1/2 and IGFBP-1 arereleased from schwannoma cells and IGF-I receptor overexpressed leading toincreased schwannoma proliferation and cell-matrix adhesion. In these projectsI was first author.
Nilotinib alone or incombination with selumetinib is a drug candidate for neurofibromatosis type 2
In this project we have tested the therapeutic effectiveness of a PDGFRinhibitor Nilotinib and a MEK1/2 inhibitor selumetinib (AZD6244), in humanschwannoma in vitro model. In these projects I was firstauthor.
ErbB/HER receptoractivation and preclinical efficacy of lapatinib in vestibular schwannoma
This project was in collaboration with Dr Karajannis (USA) to testEGFR/HER inhibitor Lapatinib in human schwannoma in vitro model. In theseprojects I shared first authorship.
Targeting ERK1/2 activationand proliferation in human primary schwannoma cells with MEK1/2 inhibitorAZD6244
In this study we have tested the therapeutic effectiveness of a MEK1/2inhibitor AZD6244, in human schwannoma in vitro model. Inthese projects I was first author.
Dissecting and targetingthe growth factor-dependent and growth factor-independent extracellularsignal-regulated kinase pathway in human schwannoma
Here we demonstrated that PDGFRβ is strongly overexpressedin schwannoma cells leading to increased schwannoma proliferation. We have alsosuccessfully tested a PDGFR/Raf inhibitor Sorafenib. In these projects I wasfirst author.
Orexin Receptors inRecombinant CHO Cells. Signaling to Short- and Long Term Cells responses
The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of orexinreceptor coupling to the cascades regulating cell fate and also the assessmentof the molecular determinants involved in orexin peptide-orexin receptorinteraction.
Endogenous retroviruses inneurodegenerative diseases
This project focused on the investigation of the expression of theendogenous retrovirus (ERV9)-related proteins in peripheral blood cells andpresence in sera from multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
MSc research project
The aim of this was to design cancer vaccines to treat leukemia andlymphoma. The vaccines would be implemented in both immunotherapy and genetherapy. For immunotherapy, human blood monocytes were separated anddifferentiated into dendritic cells for antigen presentation and activation ofcellular immunity. For cytokine gene therapy, genes for various cytokines weretransferred into acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells via retrovirus- andadenovirus based vectors.
I was involved in phase 0 clinical trials testing Sorafenib inNeurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) patients. I perform tests on tumour tissue andblood samples from patients to look for the effect of these drugs on signallingpathways known to be involved in the development of Merlin-deficient tumours.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
Supervisor ofPh.D. students: 3- first supervisor (DoS), 1- co-supervisor (DoS), 1- co-supervisor.
Grants & contracts
2018 AnimalFree UKcharity 01/08/2018-30/09/2018; ‘Investigating the role of TYRO3, AXL andMERTK(TAM) receptors in Merlin deficient brain tumours; schwannomas andmeningioma’:£1,940.00.
2018 GreatOrmond Street Hospital Children'sCharity Grants: ‘Investigation and targetingcellular prion protein PrPC inNeurofibromatosis type II related tumoursschwannomas, meningiomas and spinalependymomas’. Sylwia Ammoun: lead applicantand DoS; Oliver Hanemannco-applicant. £112,000, two years.
2016 ActionMedicalResearch for children: ‘The role of Endogenous Retroviral proteins inthedevelopment of Merlin-deficient tumours and as potential immunotherapyand/ordrug targets’. Sylwia Ammoun: lead applicant and DoS, RobertBelshaw:co-applicant. September 2016-September 2018. Consumables£65,061.
2015 InternalPhDstipend: ‘Endogenous Retroviral proteins as potential drug targets forMerlin-deficienttumours and their role in tumour development’.Sylwia Ammoun:lead applicant andDoS, Robert Belshaw: co-applicant. November 2016-November 2019. Student’s stipend, £61,000.
2014 Action onHearing Loss Flexi grant, ‘Endogenous Retroviral proteins aspotentialimmunotherapy and/or drug targets for Merlin-deficient tumourstreatment andtheir role in vestibular neuroma development’. Sylwia Ammoun:leadapplicant and DoS, Robert Belshaw: co-applicant. November 2014-April2014.Consumables £4697.
2014 TheLaura Crane Youth Cancer Trust grant, ‘The role of prion proteinsinMerlin-deficient tumours’. Sylwia Ammon: principal applicant and DoS.October2014-October 2016. Consumables £24,000.
2013 InternalPhDstipend. ‘The role of cellular prion proteins in schwannoma and otherMerlin-deficient tumours’. Sylwia Ammoun: Principal applicant and DoS.October2013-October 2016.Student’s stipend £61,000.
2009 NorthcottDevon Medical Foundation project grant, single applicant. Therole of Insulinlike growth factors in schwannoma development.£5,000.
Key publications are highlightedJournals