Midbrain organoids as Parkinson’s disease models

Accurate models are needed for studying the human brain and the diseases affecting it. This project aims to create an immunocompetent organoid model of the human midbrain and explore possible downstream applications, such as organoid-on-chip, transplantation and humanized models.

Blood-brain barrier on a chip for disease modelling and drug testing

Blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a semipermeable membrane that separates the central nervous system from the periphery. This project aims to develop an in vitro model of BBB by using human iPSC-derived ECs, pericytes, and astrocytes in a microfluidic organ-on-chip (OOC) platform. Using human cells avoids the problems related to cross-species differences, while the OOC platform provides a more in vivo-like environment. The model will be utilized in disease modeling and used to study the role of BBB in PD pathology by using iPSCs from PD patients.

LRRK2-mutation and glial cells in Parkinson’s disease

This project aims to discover the effects of LRRK2 G2019S-mutation on microglia and astrocytes, and glial interactions impact on neuronal well-being. LRKK2 G2019S –mutation is one of the most common causative mutation in Parkinson’s disease.

Generation of Lewy bodies in dopaminergic neurons 

Lewy bodies are present in multiple neurogenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers disease and Lewy body dementia. Alpha-synuclein is one of the key molecules found inside of Lewy bodies and it is routinely used to model alpha-synuclein pathology and Lewy body-like inclusions in neurodegenerative disease models. We hope to establish in vitro model with more authentic Lewy bodies using multiple molecule approachment.

Microglia in α-synucleinopathies

Microglia are responsible for the inflammatory response as well as clearing away accumulated debris in the brain. Recent data has indicated that microglia may contribute to disease by producing an overactive proinflammatory response and having a dysfunction in their ability to phagocytose pathological proteins, including α-synuclein. This project aims to shed light on this process through disease modelling and identify possible therapeutic targets.