Embryonic stem cells
Embryonic stem (ES) cells have the potential to differentiate into any cell type of the developing embryo and adult. For this reason they have proved invaluable in understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive normal development and can provide a window into what happens during abnormal development. In addition, ES cells have great potential in treating a large number of currently incurable or poorly treatable human diseases and injuries, including neuropathies, brain and spinal injuries, muscular diseases, and diabetes.
This project examines the directed differentiation of mouse ES cells, via a series of embryologically relevant cell types, to multipotent neural progenitor cells that ultimately can be driven to form neurons, glia and neural crest cells that make up the central and peripheral nervous system. This system serves as an in vitro model for understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning critical developmental milestones. Our focus is on the signalling pathways and how those pathways interact to drive this directed differentiation. We have discovered a number of unique molecules which stimulate signalling including selected amino acids which, very surprisingly, act like growth factors to stimulate neural development.
Techniques include tissue culture, cell signalling analysis, gene expression analysis, immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry.
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The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1596