About Ekaterina Lobanova
Dr. Lobanova received her BS in physics from the Lomonosov State University of Moscow, a top russian university. She continued her graduate studies at Biophysics Department with Prof. Fazly Ataullakhanov, using mathematical modeling to define unifying principles controlling complex behavior of biological systems. She then completed her postdoctoral training with Prof. Arshavsky at Harvard and Duke, where she sought to establish processes driving the pathobiology of retinal diseases.
Her current studies are focused on defining the mechanisms of protein and lipid processing in rod photoreceptors, the light-sensitive neurons of the eye.
Dr. Lobanova pioneered the concept of proteasomal overload as a common pathobiological factor shared between multiple forms of retinal degeneration. Building on these findings, she is developing novel approaches to manipulate proteasomal activity, which could be used in clinics to treat retinal diseases in a mutation-independent manner.
Photoreceptors detect light with their distinctive and large ciliated organelles, rod outer segments, which are tightly packed with lipid discs. These membranes are uniquely enriched with Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), more so than anywhere else in the body. Dr. Lobanova uses new genetic mouse models and sensitive lipidomics approaches to establish critical molecular components allowing photoreceptors to maintain the exceptional complexity of their membranes. Work in this direction can uncover novel therapeutic targets and design of lipid-based approaches to treat ocular diseases.