Our aim is to understand the impact of genetic and environmental factors on human brain cells and entire brain of major neurological and psychiatric diseases prior to disease onset and develop tools for predictive medicine and therapy.
We use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) representing neurological and psychiatric diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and psychopathy. Differentiation of iPSCs into neurons, astrocytes and microglia allow us to analyze aberrant gene and protein expression, function and metabolism in developing and maturing human brain well before the disease onset. In addition to 2D cell cultures, the interplay between different cell types is analyzed in 3D cultures systems. Moreover, we can transplant these cultures into the mouse brain. We also combine iPSC-derived endothelial cells, pericytes and astrocytes for modelling blood-brain barrier. The impact of mutations and potential therapeutic genes are tested by using CRISPR/Cas9 system, gene transfer and novel small molecules.