ProTeAN - Production and Testing of Human Neurons and Brain Organoids


Project Summary

The goal of the ProTeAN project (a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - Individual Fellowship), was to implement the required methodologies of developing 3D brain organoid models to study neurodevelopment at the host institution CNC, in collaboration with clinical partners from the Pediatric Hospital (HP-CHUC, EPE) and Faculty of Medicine (FMUC). The first milestones we achieved were the establishment of the first dental stem cell biobank in Portugal to study neurodevelopmental disorders and its approval by the Ethics Committees from the Hospital (#CHUC-049-18) and the University of Coimbra (#121-CE-2017). We were able to optimize the required protocols to reprogram the dental stem cells into iPS cells using non-viral methods and then differentiated those iPS cells into 3D whole brain organoids. Brain organoids were characterized to analyze synaptic changes, neuronal morphology and the electrophysiological properties of neurons and circuits. We showed that dental stem cells are a suitable source to generate brain organoids and that 3D brain cultures are realistic models that will allow to understand the mechanisms behind NDDs and test for personalized therapeutic approaches. Regarding science communication, this project was widely disseminated through the media and outreach activities to raise autism awareness and to educate the community on the scientific advancements achieved in this research field.

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Main Goals

- Establish a biobank of dental stem cells to study neurodevelopmental disorders
- Model neurodevelopmental disorders using 3D brain organoids to understand the impact of genetic alterations on brain wiring and function

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Project Details

Project Code

Grant ID 799164

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