Maria Teresa Ferretti, Switzerland

Maria Teresa is a neuroimmunologist and science advocate with 10-year+ international experience in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. 

After a master in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2005 (University of Cagliari, Italy), she obtained a PhD in Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University (Montreal, Canada) in 2011, following a stage at the Center of Excellence for Drug Discovery of GlaxoSmith&Kline (Harlow, England). Since 2011 she is a postdoctoral fellow in the Nitsch’s lab (University of Zurich, Switzerland), and in 2014 she became group leader. In her research, Maria Teresa employs single-cell, multidimensional deep immunophenotyping (with standard flow-cytometry and CyTOF) to identify novel biomarkers for increasing individual level prediction of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.

In 2016 Maria Teresa co-founded a non-profit organization called ‘Women’s Brain Project’ (WBP), advocating for sex-sensitive precision medicine for brain and mental diseases ( WBP engages and collaborates with academic and clinical groups, pharma industry and regulators in events, symposia and scientific writing on the topic, promoting data stratification by sex in the neuroscience/neurology community. More than 20 new papers (including primary research papers, reviews and position papers) have now been written thanks to this campaign, documenting the occurrence and importance of sex-effects in clinical and preclinical datasets, in particular in Alzheimer’s. 

With over 18 peer-reviewed papers co-authored in leading journals, her work is often covered by the national and international press and presented at scientific conferences and policy makers meetings. Maria Teresa has received several academic awards and prices, and she is currently the recipient of a research grant from the Synapsis Foundation (Swiss Alzheimer Association).