Development of Stem Cell based therapies for Motor Neuron Disease

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Lachlan Thompson lachlant@unimelb.edu.au
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Stefano Frausins

Summary Our laboratory is interested in the idea that stem cells can repair the damaged brain. There are two broad strategies we are pursuing. The first is neural transplantation. It is an approach that has had some success clinically for Parkinson’s disease and involves the transplantation of new neurons directly into the patient’s brain in order to functionally compensate for those lost to the disease. We are continuing to explore and optimise this as a therapeutic option not only for Parkinson’s disease but also for other neurological conditions such as stroke and motor neuron disease. The second strategy is based on the idea that the brain retains some capacity for ‘self-repair’ through neurogenesis. Part of our research program seeks to characterise the brain’s own capacity to generate new neurons in response to injury and to manipulate this response in favour of therapeutic outcomes

Project Details

Recent advances in stem cell biology allow for the on-demand generation of spinal motor neurons from human pluripotent stem cells. Our laboratory has been exploring the possibility that these neurons can be implanted directly into the spinal cord in order to functionally compensate for those lost to the disease process. This project will seek to understand the capacity for implanted motor neurons to appropriately integrate into host circuitry, including innervation of peripheral targets. We will also explore the concept that the implanted neurons can protect the host neurons from the disease process.



Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


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