Maria Xilouri, PhD, received her degree in biology (1999) and her PhD in neurobiology (2007) from the University of Athens. During her graduate studies she identified mechanisms via which neuroactive steroids exert protective effects in brain cells. Since 2006, she has been working at the Clinical, Experimental Surgery and Translational Research Center of the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), first as a postdoctoral fellow and now as an Independent Investigator D’. The main focus of Dr Xilouri’s research is to elucidate processes controlling the accumulation and propagation of the protein alpha-synuclein in brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple system atrophy. She recently identified the selective lysosomal pathway of chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) as a major route for alpha-synuclein degradation using pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo models of PD, thus pinpointing this pathway as an attractive therapeutic strategy to combat alpha-synuclein related toxicity.