Modeling the phenotypic effects of neuromodulatory agents on human neuronal cells using cerebral organoids

Emerging therapeutic agents that function through the brain’s neurotransmitter systems have recently shown robust benefits in a number of otherwise challenging to treat neurological conditions including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The long-term changes that these agents induce within neural tissue is still however unclear. This MITSCS program aims to to use expertise in tissue bioengineering models to explore the molecular changes that modulation of these pathways induces in neuronal cells. By growing and analyzing artificial humanoid brain tissue in the presence and absence of various relevant neuromodulatory agents, scientists will help us better understand their downstream and long-term molecular changes. These insights are expected to help provide a stronger understanding of how these novel neurotransmitter pathways improve brain function, will help improve their safety, and guide new indication for use of this emerging drug classes for other difficult to manage neurological disorders.

Intern: 
Weili Hui;Sofia Melliou;Brian Lam;Rifat Sajid
Faculty Supervisor: 
Phedias Diamandis
Province: 
Ontario
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