Investigation of complex neuronal circuits as models for stem cell therapeutics

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: School of Science

Abstract

There is an urgent need for research into neurodegenerative diseases, however our lack of understanding of complex brain circuitry restricts modelling and evaluation for future healthcare strategies.

This project will advance current brain-on-a-chip devices, using micro-fabrication technologies to precisely engineer complex living neural circuits. Multiple cellular components will be manipulated in culture to define an artificial living neuronal cell circuit mimicking those involved in known aging neuropathologies. The complexity of the tissue will be designed specifically to enable control cellular connectivity. These will be used as functional models for comparison between healthy and diseased tissue, enabling evaluation of therapeutic strategies within treated segments of the neural circuit and the network as a whole. Real-time and long-term evaluation will provide an evidence-base for a step-changing pre-clinical screening method.

Publications

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Paul Roach (2019) Device design

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509516/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2021
2238925 Studentship EP/N509516/1 30/09/2017 30/08/2021 Sophie Oakley
 
Description A method of differentiating neurons whilst maintaining an unbranched state facilitating use in microfabricated channels. Branching can be increased with the removal of serum from growth conditions and enhancing the ability of networking to occur.
Exploitation Route For use in the modelling of neuronal circuits by manipulating the phenotype of the Sh-sy5y cell line.
Sectors Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description Collaberation with Aston University - Eric Hill 
Organisation Aston University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Training and resource exchange, using IPSC derived neurons developed at Aston in our Microfabricated device.
Collaborator Contribution Aston supplied the cell lines used.
Impact None so far.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Brain on a Chip - Work shop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The brain on a chip workshop was hosted by Loughborough university. academics from a variety of different universites working and interested in Microfabrication, Neuroelectrophysiology and tissue engineering gave talks; sharing ideas and the applications of specific neuronal models. 6 universities took part and subsequently submitted based on this forum.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.lboro.ac.uk/science/events/brain-on-a-chip-workshop-22mar19.html
 
Description Cambridge Seminar/workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was an invited talk in the West Park Cambridge to discuss research focus and state-of-the art methodologies. The students were very engaging and this enabled some excellent discussion. I also took a couple of my PGR students along with me which allowed them to develop their network and see their work in context with the field. Whilst there we had a smaller group discussion and planning session for future work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Cross Cadre/ UKSB joint conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presented digitally as part of the cross cadre/ UKSB joint conference, to communicate my current research to an audience of peers and professionals in different scientific fields.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description EPSRC and MRC Centres for Doctoral Training in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Joint Conference 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A joint conference bringing together the biomaterials and regenerative medicine researches across the UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description JCB Academy - Visit to University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Several GCSE students and 2 teachers visited the University to participate in practical sessions in Physics, Biology and Chemistry. A talk was given and a follow discussion had about careers in STEM.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2020
 
Description JCB Academy ROCESTER - Biology in Engineering Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Explored and discussed the application of engineering in a biological context eg. tissue engineering. Introductory session about the work within our lab and the impact/application of the research as well brainstorming and interactive sessions to GCSE and A level students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster Presentation at the Grand Challenges in Parkinson's Disease Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented and discussed a poster based on my research at the conference. Interested parties asked questions and we discussed the limitation of the current models.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020