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Nurturing Neuroscience

Nurturing Neuroscience

Our understanding of the central nervous system (CNS) has grown significantly in recent years. The advent of new technologies and products have enabled us to explore not only the molecular mechanisms involved in learning, development, memory formation, electrical conductivity and synaptic function but also the onset and deterioration of these systems in neurological disorders such as epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases as well as psychiatric conditions.

iPSC-Derived Neurons for Epilepsy Studies

iPSC-Derived Neurons for Epilepsy Studies

Epilepsy Neural Stem Cells (ax0411) cultured on Sure Bond+ (ax0041+). Image taken after 3 days of spontaneous differentiation in Neural Expansion-XF Medium (ax0030-500). nestin (R) - FOXG1 (G)

An Important Biological Paradox That May Hold The Key to Understanding Age-Related Diseases Such As Neurodegeneration

An Important Biological Paradox That May Hold The Key to Understanding Age-Related Diseases Such As Neurodegeneration

“It is truly amazing that a complex organism, formed through an extraordinary intricate process of morphogenesis, should    be unable to perform the much simpler task of merely maintaining what already exists.”

Brain Day at the Museum

Brain Day at the Museum

For starters, my student Paul and I did some homework on our poster to ensure that it was audience appropriate; with Paul's help I made the message simple and clear enough to allow us to be able to explain the poster to anyone of any age and background. Angela then offered me another layer of challenge on top of the poster - designing a game for my research so that I can explain my work to our visitors at the conference.

MicroRNA and the Heart

MicroRNA and the Heart

MicroRNAs are short noncoding 18-25 nucleotide long RNA which bind and inhibit mRNA. Currently, there are over 1000 known human microRNAs, and microRNAs control over 50% of mammalian protein coding genes. As more is learnt about the regulation and wide reaching function of microRNA, their importance in regulating cell pathways in homeostasis and disease are becoming more apparent.

Day 10: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

Day 10: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

We have now reached day 10 of our investigation into the suitability of Axol hyCCNs for studying axonal biology using microfluidic culture devices. Day 9 fell on a Sunday so we have cheated slightly and changed media on Day 10 instead (not recommended). Fortunately, the cells survived over the weekend without too much distress. Prior to today, we prepared the microfluidic culture device and began the culture of human cerebral cortical neuron with the expectation that the axons would pass through the microgroove within 2 weeks of plating the cells. During this culture period we have been exchanging media every 2 days while waiting for the axons to appear!

Day 7: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

Day 7: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

We have reached day 7 of our investigation into the suitability of Axol hyCCNs for studying axonal biology using microfluidic culture devices. Unfortunately, the major highlights at these point are changing media and checking cells under the microscope while we wait for the assay to come to fruition (a familiar scenario to those experienced in cell culture). Prior to today, we prepared the microfluidic culture device and began the culture of human cerebral cortical neuron with the expectation that the axons would pass through the microgroove within 2 weeks of plating the cells. 

Day 5: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

Day 5: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

On day 5 of our investigation into the suitability of Axol hyCCNs for studying axonal biology using microfluidic culture devices, the major step is to exchange the medium! Previously, we prepared the microfluidic device and started culturing the human cerebral cortical neurons. The expectation is that the axons will pass through the microgroove in the microfluidic device within 2 weeks of plating the cells. 

Day 2: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

Day 2: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

1.   Rinse the cover glass several times with sterile dH2O in the tissue culture hood.  Leave the cover glass in dH2O as you sterilize the microfluidic device. Then remove from water and allow the cover glass to air dry in the hood at the same time as the device.

Day 1: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

Day 1: Investigating axonal biology using cerebral cortical neurons in a microfluidic culture device.

We are hoping to show that Axol human cerebral cortical neurons can easily be adapted to grow in a microfluidic culture device allowing us to separate cell bodies from the extended axons and we will be blogging our progress along the way. This culturing method has many potential applications including investigating biochemical analysis of pure axonal fractions, studying axonal injury and studying axonal regeneration.

Guest Post: The Importance of Basic Research in Medicine

Guest Post: The Importance of Basic Research in Medicine

As a basic scientist performing research in a hospital many of my colleagues and people around me work every day to save people’s lives in a very direct way.  I work on a protein involved in cellular pathways in disease and I often wonder whether what I am doing will ever have an impact on people in the medical field...

Guest Post: The "Marathon" Journey of Earning a PhD

Guest Post: The "Marathon" Journey of Earning a PhD

In many ways, getting a PhD is like running a marathon. A marathon with hurdles positioned at every mile mark to be precise. It is not a “pleasant” experience per se, but you will come out a finisher, which is pretty much the same thing as a winner in my book. Here is my story.