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Assistant Professor

Lena Smirnova, PhD, researches the development of new methodologies for developmental neurotoxicity testing and understanding gene environmental interactions in autism.

Contact Info

Research Interests

microRNA; developmental neurotoxicology; gene environmental interactions; in vitro toxicology; iPSC-derived brain models

Experiences & Accomplishments
Free University of Berlin

My overall research goal is to develop new, more predictive, and human-relevant in vitro methods in developmental neurotoxicology, such as iPSC-derived brain roganoids. My primary research interest is molecular mechanisms of cellular responses to environmental stress. My main interest over the last few years was the role of miRNA in neurodevelopment and neurotoxicity, and identification whether miRNA constitute an interface of gene-environmental interactions that contribute to autism.

Honors & Awards

2017 - 19 Excellence in teaching for two EHE courses: Tox 21 scientific applications and Evidence-based


2017 Green and Open Neuroscience Hero award for promotion of animal-free methods in neuroscience

2015 LUSH Prize young investigator award to support animal free testing

2011 Poster award at 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences

2007 Doctoral thesis award 2007 of Berlin Scientist Society for the best thesis 2007 of the Universities of Federal state. PhD thesis title: “Regulation and function of microRNA during neural development and stem cell specification”

2002 German Research Foundation (DFG) scholarship for three years as a member of graduate school “Damage Cascades in neurological disorders – studies with imaging techniques”

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