Profile & Department: Adjunct Professor, Cellular & Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa
Brain injury is among the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Every year thousands of people acquire brain injury, of which many develop problems with motor function, sensory processing, communication, cognition and mental health. Despite improvements in alleviating neurological symptoms, most CNS drugs do not have meaningful effects on their targets. Therefore, effective neuroprotection and neuroregeneration strategies remain to be developed to combat the neuronal loss in the damaged brain.
Our laboratory has established multiple lines of amniotic fluid induced pluripotent stem cells (AF-iPSC), and differentiated them into various cell types, including brain endothelial cells, neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Using complementary techniques, we have used these cells to develop an in vitro human blood brain barrier (BBB) model, which is currently used in our laboratory to screen brain therapeutic candidates. In parallel studies, we have employed neuro-implants composed of AF-iPSC-derived neural progenitors in a mouse motor cortex injury model to assess brain repair at the cellular, molecular and functional levels.