Katarina Kapuralin

Research Scientist Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: MSc University of Zagreb; PhD University of Zagreb

Katarina Kapuralin graduated with an M.Sc. in Biology from the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia, in 2007, and received her PhD in Neuroscience in 2012. She worked as a Research Assistant in the Laboratory for Neurogenetics and Developmental Genetics at the Croatian Institute for Brain Research. This work focused on genetic regulation of differentiation and plasticity of the mouse central nervous system.

Prior to joining the Claude Desplan lab in the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at NYUAD, Katarina was a teaching assistant in the Department of Histology and Embryology, where she was involved in teaching a course in Histology and Embryology for medical students.

Katarina’s research focus is on sorting and profiling of Drosophila optic lobe neurons. The main aim of this project is to generate a transcriptional profile for Drosophila optic lobe neurons and to correlate this transcriptome with the different defining anatomical and functional characteristics of each of the cell types. A laser-based flow cytometry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and next-generation RNA sequencing technologies are used to determine the complete gene-expression profile of sorted individual neuron types.

Transcriptional profiling of isolated neuronal sub-types has the power to elucidate genetic principles by which gene activity directs the assembly of optic lobe circuits. By combining molecular biology screening techniques with computational methods, we expect to uncover genetic programs responsible for controlling a neuron location, shape, synaptic connections, and neurotransmitter production or response. Understanding the dynamics of the transcriptome is essential for studying the complexity of transcriptional regulation and regulatory mechanisms that control differentiation.