Collaborative research funded by the state of Bavaria
Bavarian Research Network Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (ForIPS)
The Bavarian Research Network ForIPS has the major and long-term goal to establish human cellular disease models and novel intervention strategies for sporadic and chronic disorders of the brain with the current focus on sporadic Parkinson’s disease. The first task of the ForIPS consortium is to establish a biobank for human induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS) of Parkinson’s disease patients and healthy controls at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen including the implementation important quality controls in terms of genomic and transcriptional stability as well as the development of non-integrating reprogramming strategies. Reprogramming of mature cells of the body into so called “induced pluripotent stem cells” represents one of the most innovative biomedical developments in recent years (Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2012). Using this technology, connective tissue cells of patients are obtained and reprogrammed to the stage of pluripotency. As a result, patient specific stem cells are generated and in the framework of ForIPS further differentiated to neurons. Using this technology, ForIPS is able to generate IPS-derived neurons from affected patients. These cells may serve as a cellular model for the analysis of individual disease mechanisms, in particular with regard to the individually underlying pathogenesis of the patient, thus enabling the development of new treatment strategies.
Contact: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Winkler, Division of Molecular Neurology
Bavarian Research Network ForInter (Interaction of Human Brain Cells)
In the human brain, different specialized cell populations, such as neurons and glial cells, are arranged in a complex blueprint. The different cells form functional and dynamic networks and their interaction is essential for the different functions of the brain.
Many questions about the role of the different cells in the functions of the brain, both in health and in disease, remain unanswered to this day. Thus, the Bavarian Research Network ForInter aims to investigate the interaction of different cell types of the human brain in multidimensional cell culture systems.
The working hypothesis is: defined human cell-cell systems are able to model physiological and pathological interactions of the human brain.
Developments in biology and stem cell research in recent years have set the stage for the generation of multidimensional cell culture systems and cerebral organoids (mini brains) that promise novel insights into structural and dynamic interactions. As models, these enable the study of both the normal human physiology of brain development and pathogenic processes.
ForInter brings together scientists from neurobiology, with expertise in basic biology and stem cell biology, as well as scientists from neuropathology and translational neurology. The neurobiological expertise is interdisciplinarily complemented and strengthened by scientists from bioinformatics and the field of ethics and law.
Contact within the faculty: Prof. Dr. B. Winner, Department of Stem Cell Biology