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Generating neuronal subpopulations from pluripotent stem cell sources and their application in disease modelling and brain repair

The Parish laboratory has a keen interest in the use of pluripotent stem cells for brain repair.

Aims

Ongoing stem cell research will focus on the generation of interneuron, striatal and cortical neuronal populations from mouse and human pluripotent stem cells for in vivo transplantation in diseased models.

The team is focused on developing highly standardized protocols for the generation of various neuronal populations from human pluripotent stem cells, with these cells providing valuable tools for disease modeling in the dish, drug screening or transplantation into the injured brain.


A particular interest in the group has been the generation of dopamine neurons, the major cell population that dies in Parkinson’s disease. Using embryonic and induced pluripotent-derived stem cells, the group has successfully generated human dopamine neurons suitable for clinical translation.

This has included demonstrating the appropriate identity of the generated cells, their function, as well as the suitability of the protocol for efficient scalability and banking (cryopreservation) of the cells.

Most recently we have demonstrated that these stem cell-derived dopamine neurons are capable of alleviating motor symptoms in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Ongoing work in the team is now focused on developing strategies to purify populations prior to grafting, ensure safety for the use of pluripotent stem cells into the clinic and enhance the integration of these transplanted cells into the host brain.

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