Our People

Lotta Oikari

Research Officer

Cellular & Molecular Neurodegeneration

+61 7 3362 0375

lotta.oikari@qimrberghofer.edu.au

CAREER HISTORY

Dr Lotta Oikari obtained her BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Turku, Finland after which she moved to Australia to undertake PhD studies. She completed her PhD at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2017 specialising in human neural stem cell models. Following her PhD studies, Dr Oikari started as a post-doctoral researcher in Associate Professor Anthony White’s Cellular and Molecular Neurodegeneration group at QIMR Berghofer, where her research focuses on using patient-derived pluripotent stem cells to study neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

 

CURRENT APPOINTMENTS

  • 2016 – current: Research Officer, Cellular and Molecular Neurodegeneration Laboratory

 

PREVIOUS APPOINTMENTS

  • 2013 – 2016: PhD Student, Genomics Research Centre, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
  • 2014 : IHBI Postgraduate Student Committee and Postgraduate Student Conference Organising Committee Representative, Brisbane, Australia
  • 2011: Intern, Genomics Research Centre, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia
  • 2010 – 2012: Trainee, Molecular Systems Immunology, Turku Centre for Biotechnology, Finland

 

ORCID NUMBER

0000-0001-7821-8622

 

RESEARCHER ID

AAZ-2508-2020

 

CURRENT AREA OF RESEARCH

Dr Oikari is a human stem cell researcher and her work specifically focuses on using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to model neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Her current area of interest is developing an iPSC-derived blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vitro model of Alzheimer’s disease to understand Alzheimer’s disease-specific changes at the BBB and model drug delivery using focused ultrasound. Dr Oikari’s key expertise and skillsets include hiPSC differentiation to neural cell types and brain endothelial cells, the use of 3D culture platforms (including hydrogel-based and microfluidic platforms), co-culture models of stem cell-derived neural cells, molecular biology techniques, microscopy and studying the effects of focused ultrasound.

 

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

  • identified key differences between healthy and familial Alzheimer’s patient-derived brain endothelial cells, including tight junction protein and efflux transporter expression and function highlighting disease-specific effects on the blood-brain barrier
  • demonstrated the ability to use focused ultrasound as a means for drug delivery and amyloid clearance in a blood-brain barrier in vitro model and identified differences in the response to ultrasound between healthy and patient-derived brain endothelial cells

 

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • 2017 – current: Brain foundation, Member
  • 2016 – Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR), Queensland Branch, Co-Chair Postgraduate Student Conference Organising Committee
  • 2015 – Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR), Queensland Branch, Postgraduate Student Conference Organising Committee Representative
  • 2014 – 2016 Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR), Member

 

AWARDS RECOGNITION

  • 2016: People’s Choice for Best Oral Presentation, ASMR Postgraduate Student Conference
  • 2015: People’s Choice for Best Oral Presentation, IHBI Inspires Postgraduate Student Conference
  • 2013: Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology Travel Bursary
  • 2013: QUT Higher Degree Research Tuition Fee Scholarship
  • 2013: QUT Postgraduate Student Award

 

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

  • 2017: PhD, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
  • 2012: MSc, University of Turku, Finland
  • 2011: BSc, University of Turku, Finland