Elena Irollo, PharmD, PhD, is a research associate in the laboratory of Dr. Olimpia Meucci in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology. The major focus of Dr. Irollo's research is to understand how opioid drug use contributes to the progression of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). To this end, Dr. Irollo studies opioid-induced synaptic damage and opioid regulation of the neuroprotective CXCL12/CXCR4 chemokine signaling axis. She is also interested in the effect of chemokines and other immune mediators in brain tumor development and progression.
Before joining the Meucci Lab in 2018, Dr. Irollo worked as postdoctoral research fellow at Thomas Jefferson University in the Department of Cancer Biology, where she investigated the role of stress granules in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment. During this time, Dr. Irollo was elected as an executive board member of the Jefferson Postdoctoral Association, and she served the postdoctoral community as vice president of social affairs.
Dr. Irollo obtained her PharmD degree from the University of Naples, Italy, and her PhD in cancer biology from the University of Erlangen, Germany. Her doctoral work demonstrated that collagen-X is a novel specific stromal biomarker for the detection of malignant colorectal carcinomas. Her findings formed the basis of our understanding that collagen-X analysis could be used in routinely processed primary tumor tissues as prognostic profilers to identify high-risk patients.
Dr. Irollo is currently the chair of the Career & Professional Development Committee for the Drexel Postdoctoral Association, and is actively involved in developing, implementing, disseminating and evaluating professional development programs for postdoctoral fellows. She aims to help research fellows expand their research development knowledge and add valuable skills to both their professional and personal toolboxes.