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Neuro-genetic engineering

Our project this year blends the fields of synthetic biology and neuroscience. We aim to demonstrate that genetic engineering techniques can be applied to the central nervous system, in order to rectify abnormalities in, for example, the brain on a cellular and/or macromolecular level. Such a novel application of synthetic biology could offer new ways to treat certain brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, for which modern pharmaceutical treatment is purely symptomatic.

Click the abstracts below to read more.

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Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia. Symptoms include memory loss, mood fluctuations and problems with communication and reasoning. It is a physical, degenerative condition that causes cell death in the brain.


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There are many hypotheses on the causes for Alzheimer’s disease, though there are three accepted signs in the brain: plaques, tangles and cell death. We focus on the so called ‘Amyloid Hypothesis’.


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Microglia are the resident, mobile immune cells in the brain, performing many of the same roles as one’s white blood cells. In our project, we try to use microglia as a chassis for our genetic circuit.


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