NeuroStem

Stem cell models for discovery of RNA-mediated regulation in neurodegeneration. NeuroStem is an Indo-Danish strategic research cooperation within Health Science Biotechnology

Innovation Fund Denmark has granted 5 million DKK to the NeuroStem project. In this project Danish and Indian researchers will collaborate to establish induced pluripotent stem cell-based patient-specific in vitro screening platforms for investigation of RNA-mediated neurodegeneration over a 3 year period starting in 2015. Particular focus will be put on the action of non-coding RNA in the diseases. The coordinator of the project is Professor Poul Hyttel, University of Copenhagen with the primary locations of activity being University of Copenhagen, Danish Dementia Research Centre, Rigshospitalet University of Copenhagen, Bioneer, and inStem in India.

Research

Non-coding RNAs appear to be crucial for disease development, although they remain largely unexplored with respect to development of potential treatments. Therefore, the ability to screen for novel non-coding RNA-related mechanisms has huge potentials. 

NeuroStem will result in novel functional insight to the disease-specific molecular background of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and the data may allow for improved treatment modalities based on e.g. manipulation of non-coding RNAs, which are causally involved in these diseases. Also, the data are expected to result in establishment and significant improvements of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived patient-specific screening platforms by developing more relevant and sensitive read-outs from the screens.

Objectives of NeuroStem

The key objective of NeuroStem is to elucidate the role of non-coding RNAs in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell-based in vitro screening platforms. We will: (1) identify novel non-coding RNAs involved in neurodegenerative pathology, (2) perform functional testing of potential disease-causing non-coding RNA defects by knock-down or over-expression, (3) study potential defects in alternative splicing translation of synaptic proteins in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration, and (4) visualize neural cellular dysfunction such as mitochondrial dynamics, spine characteristics, and cell survival by novel technologies in live cell bioimaging.

Partners

  • The Group for Stem Cells and Embryology, University of Copenhagen (Poul Hyttel)
  • The Bioinformatics Group, Center for non-coding RNA in Technology and Health (RTH), University of Copenhagen (Jan Gorodkin)
  • The Danish  Dementia Research Centre (DDRC), Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen (Gunhild Waldemar)
  • Bioneer A/S (Christian Clausen)
  • inStem, India (Ravi Muddashetty)

Steering Groups

NeuroStem will be managed by Professor Poul Hyttel, who has a long-standing experience in management of large research activities supported by the Danish Research Councils, the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (HTF), and the EU. An Indian Steering Group and Danish Steering Group will oversee the project in each country and together, the two national Steering Groups will form the Project Steering Group.

Indian Steering Group members: Ravi Muddashetty, Vijayalaxmi Nalavadi, Akash Gulyani and Dasaradhi Palakodeti.

Danish Steering Group members: Poul Hyttel, Jan Gorodkin, Gunhild Waldemar and Christian Clausen.

Two internationally recognized experts in the field have agreed to serve as external members in the Project Steering Group:

  • Jari Koistinaho, University of Eastern Finland
  • Peter F. Stadler, University of Leipzig, Germany

Contact

If you would like more information about NeuroStem, please contact neurostem @ neurostem.dk