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Making spinal cord organoids from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells

Motor neuron disease (MND) is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by the progressive loss of motor neurons. With the advancement of stem cell technology, it has now become possible to use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) derived from patients with MND to make mini brain and spinal cord structures in the lab.

Aims

This project will involve the generation of organoids from patient iPSC harbouring relevant mutations known to cause MND.

Comparing with iPSC-derived organoids from healthy control patients, we can investigate differences by studying individual cell types within the organoids as well as whole networks.

Organoids can be analysed using common biochemical techniques assessing gene and protein expression and there’s also the potential to live-image organoids over time to monitor cellular function with time. Further, using advanced electrophysiological techniques like microarray electrodes, it is possible to monitor the electrical activity of the organoids as a surrogate for synaptic networking which is known to be impaired in MND.

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