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Advanced reprogramming-based approaches to model and study Alzheimer’s disease: investigating astrocyte reactivity and its consequences.

We are interested in studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms driving pathogenic processes in the human brain, but also to identify / validate new therapeutic targets or molecules.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease primarily characterized by cognitive decline, affecting nearly 30 million people worldwide. To date, no preventive and/or curative treatment exists. In order to get a better understanding of AD and perhaps discover new therapeutic targets, our team is interested in studying the influence of an inflammatory context, together with a genetic context at risk, on the pathogenic processes of AD. More particularly, we are interested by the study of astrocytes and their interactions with neurons. Our team ambitions to shed new light on the importance of the response of astrocytes to inflammation, which we expect to be differentially driven by genetic risk factors associated to AD, and so may play critical roles on the activation and/or development of the disease. In addition, we are investigating the mechanisms underlying those pathogenic events. Ultimately, we want to evaluate how the modulation of those mechanisms can impact on AD pathology.
To tackle these challenges, our team leverages on its expertise in using innovative technologies for modeling human pathologies through the use of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-based strategies. To carry out our work, we also rely on state-of-the-art genome editing technology, namely CRISPR-Cas9, and we use a wide spectrum of methods of investigation (cell biology, biochemistry, cell imaging, pharmacology, etc.). The proposed internship will involve the use of different methodological approaches to characterize and analyze human neural cells (neurons and astrocytes) that will be differentiated from hiPSC derived from healthy donors and Alzheimer’s patients, which cells will be subjected to different experimental conditions related to inflammation and genetic polymorphisms.
Highly motivated students whom are interested by the aforementioned research topic are strongly encouraged to contact us to discuss in more details the internship opportunities we may offer.

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