Using advanced pluripotent stem cell-derived 3D organoid models of the human brain to study neurodevelopmental disorders and identify new therapeutic approaches.

Our lab is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular basis of human brain development and disease by using pluripotent stem-cell-derived 3D brain organoid models that closely mimic the cellular complexity, tissue architecture and connectivity of the developing human brain.

Human brain development largely occurs in utero and is therefore inaccessible for investigation. Most of what we know about this process comes from studies in rodents. However, many aspects of human brain development reflect species-specific events that cannot be fully investigated in other animal models.

The recent emergence of cellular models of the human brain, in the form of 3D brain organoids, represents a significant advance in modelling human brain development in vitro and provides an opportunity to understand how abnormalities in this process lead to neurodevelopmental disorders, a large group of conditions which include:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Intellectual disability
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Infantile epilepsies.

Current treatments for these conditions aim at lifelong symptom management, a strategy necessitated by a lack of knowledge of underlying causes.

By combining advanced 3D brain organoids and innovative high-throughput single-cell genomic and transcriptomic technologies, our lab aims to gain insights into cell-type specific developmental abnormalities associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, to ultimately identify novel effective treatments for children affected by these conditions.