Portrait Published December 19 2022

Nadya Pyatigorskaya © Institut du Cerveau

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Dr Nadya Pyatigorskaya is a neuroradiologist at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital (AP-HP) and a researcher in the MOV’IT team at the Paris Brain Institute. She talks about her career and her work at the Brain Institute.

Nadya, how did you come to the Paris Brain Institute?

After my medical studies, I joined the neuroradiology department of the hospital as head of clinic. At the same time, I started my PhD with Stéphane Lehéricy, who is also a team leader at the Paris Brain Institute, and finally joined his team and Marie Vidailhet’s team on a permanent basis to pursue my research projects.

What are your current research projects?

I have two major projects at the moment. The first one is focused on the development of PET-MRI* studies to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumors. I am particularly interested in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Thanks to an industrial collaboration, we have access to a very specific marker of Tau proteins, which accumulate pathologically in the brain of patients. Our goal is to better diagnose and understand the pathological mechanisms of the different forms of PSP.

Today, the more classic forms of PSP, such as Richardson’s syndrome, are fairly well diagnosed in their advanced forms, but in 60 to 70% of cases, they are atypical forms, which are much more difficult to detect. This is very important. Currently, these patients with atypical forms are not included in clinical trials because their disease is not well understood. In the early forms, the correct diagnosis is also often difficult to make, so it is necessary to improve it.

What are your hopes for research?

In terms of abnormal movements, my hope is that we can apply our technological developments to therapeutic trials. Neuromodulation also seems to me to be very promising for modulating the activity of deep brain regions in a non-invasive way, with many potential therapeutic indications such as epilepsy, certain psychiatric disorders, pain or brain tumors.

Did you know? The cost of a one-hour PET MRI session is 1,040 euros. Thus, in the context of a clinical trial, a monthly PET-MRI follow-up would cost 12,48 euros per year per patient.

*Advanced medical imaging tool combining magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography.

This portrait can be found in Synapse magazine.