Brain development and disease at the cellular level

"You can't start a fire without a spark" - Bruce Springsteen
Human stem cell-derived dopaminergic neurons


Dopaminergic neurons are the cells most vulnerable during Parkinson's disease. Starting with human stem cells, we generate high quality dopaminergic neurons in a dish. These cells are a handy proxy to study how human dopaminergic neurons develop, function and respond to external stimuli.

Microglial heterogeneity


Microglia are the resident immune cells of the brain. They are constantly active performing versatile tasks during development and in steady state. Upon any brain disease, microglia react sometimes for good and sometimes for bad! To make these cells even more exiting, microglia are heterogenous, especially during development. Understanding the contribution of this microglial heterogeneity can open new avenues of how we understand brain pathophysiology. 


Featured publications

Microglial subtypes: diversity within the microglial community. Vassilis Stratoulias, Jose Luis Venero, Marie-Ève Tremblay & Bertrand Joseph. EMBO Journal (2019) 38: e101997 (review).

Arg1+microglia are critical for shaping cognition in female mice. Vassilis Stratoulias, Rocío Ruiz, Shigeaki Kanatani, Ahmed M Osman, Jose A Armengol, Antonio Rodríguez-Moreno, Adriana-Natalia Murgoci, Irene García-Domínguez, Lily Keane, Guillermo Vázquez-Cabrera, Isabel Alonso-Bellido, Nathalie Vernoux, Dario Tejera, Kathleen Grabert, Mathilde Cheray, Patricia González-Rodríguez, Eva M Pérez-Villegas, Irene Martinez-Gallego, David Brodin, Javier Avila-Cariño, Mikko Airavaara, Per Uhlén, Michael T Heneka, Marie-Ève Tremblay, Klas Blomgren, Jose L Venero, Bertrand Joseph. bioRxiv.

Stratoulias' recent publications in the University of Helsinki Research Portal

I am fascinated by how different cells grow, differentiate and function in harmony to create a living organism. Been trained as a developmental biologist, I want to track the journey a cell follows in time and space and comprehend what its contribution during development and adulthood is. Understanding a cell's role in normal state is the first step to understand its vulnerabilities during diseases.

Master and Erasmus students

Anu Haapala, Master student 

Arianna Arbona, Erasmus student 

Huai Hui Wong, Trainee / Master student 

Achmet Ali Tsaous, Trainee / Master student 


If interested in microglia, check our recurrent microglia course:

Microglia and Current Technologies 14.2. - 21.3.2023

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