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Human Neural Development

Our research

The human brain is a highly complex structure, consisting of hundreds of different subtypes of neurons; each of which fulfill a specific function in the brain network. When some of these neurons are lost – such as in neurodegenerative diseases – our brains become malfunctioning. The goal of our research is to develop stem cell-based therapies to replace lost neurons as a treatment for brain diseases. In particular, we aim to enter a clinical trial with a pluripotent cell product for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, and are also developing preclinical cell therapies for narcolepsy and dementia.

In the Kirkeby lab, we further apply advanced human stem cells models and single-cell RNA sequencing to understand how the hundreds of human neural subtypes of cells are formed during embryo development. With this knowledge at hand, we become better at controlling the differentiation of human pluripotent cells to subtype-specific neurons which can be used for disease modeling, drug screening, and transplantation, leading to new treatments for several types of brain disorders.

Aims

  • To study human brain development using stem cell models.
  • To develop novel cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.
  • To enter a clinical trial with a stem cell product for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease.
  • To model complex human brain diseases in the dish using stem cell-derived brain tissue models.

Impact

We aim to develop novel, lasting therapies for neurodegenerative diseases through the replacement of lost neurons in the brain with new neurons generated from stem cells. Such stem cell therapies have the potential to repair the damaged brain, making patients independent of daily medications with severe side effects.

How our research contributes to the goals of MultiPark

Through our work on developing novel stem cell therapies for brain diseases, we contribute to the main goal of MultiPark on establishing novel therapeutic approaches for developing more effective symptomatic, new disease-modifying, and/or plasticity-enhancing treatments. Our research addresses the aims of MultiPark's working groups 2 and 6. 


Research Team & Publications

Read about publications and research team members of the Human Neural Development in the LU Research Portal. 

Outreach

Watch a movie about the Kirkeby group research here

Watch a movie about the work of Agnete Kirkeby and Malin Parmar to develop a stem cell therapy for Parkinson's disease here

Profile photo of Agnete Kirkeby

Agnete Kirkeby

Associate Senior Lecturer

agnete [dot] kirkeby [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Link to Agnete Kirkeby's profile in the LU Research Portal

Twitter: @Kirkeby_Lab