Sonia Spitzer

Sonia Spitzer

2011 - 2014

Studentship Details


Dates of Study: Jan 2011 - Dec 2014

PhD Supervisor: Dr Ragnhildur Thóra Káradóttir

PhD Programme: MRC PhD Programme in Stem Cell Biology

Studentship Sponsor: Medical Research Council (MRC Capacity Building Studentship)

Thesis Title: The effect of the microenvironment on oligodendrocyte precursor cells

Post PhD

Upon completion of her PhD, Sonia continued working as a PostDoc Researcher in the lab of Dr Thora Karadottir at the Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, UK. From June 2016 Sonia started working at the University of Oxford in Phil Burnet's group at the Department of Psychiatry.  

Plain English

During her PhD, Sonia worked on oligodendrocyte precursor cells which are the cells that, once matured, carry out myelination and provide myelin in the central nervous system. Myelin is wrapped around the axon of the neuron and in her PhD, Sonia discovered that the axonal diameter but not the activity of the neuron determines myelination. She also demonstrated that age affects the sensitivity and excitability of the precursors which might change their ability to myelinate. The sensitivity and excitability also differs between species and is highly depends on the culture environment.

Key Publications

  1. Tailor J, Kittappa R, Leto R, Gates M, Borel M, Paulsen O, Spitzer S, Karadottir RT, Rossi F, Falk A, Smith A (2013). Stem cells expanded from the human embryonic hindbrain stably retain regional specification and high neurogenic potency. J Neurosci. 2013 Jul 24;33(30):12407-22.
  2. Stacpoole SR, Spitzer S, Bilican B, Compston A, Karadottir RT, Chandran S, Franklin RJ (2013). High yields of oligodendrocyte lineage cells from human embryonic stem cells at physiological oxygen tensions for evaluation of translational biology. Stem Cell Reports. 2013 Oct 31;1(5):437-50.
  3. Spitzer SO, Agathou S, Karadottir RT (2013). Clever glia. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2013 Aug 2;4(4):100.
  4. Goebbels S, Wieser S, Pieper A, Spitzer SO, Weege B, Yan K, Edgar J, Yagensky O, Wichert S, Rossner M, Karadottir RT, Agarwal A, Nave KA. A neuronal PI(3,4,5)P3-dependent program of oligodendrocyte precursor recruitment and myelination. Currently in revision for Nature.

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