Human stem cells for drug development
Stem cell technologies such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), allow the ethically safe production of human stem cells. These iPSCs can be used to differentiate various brain cells and then be used for drug development. A further advantage of this method is that such iPSCs also contain the genetic background of diseased individuals.
At the NMI, we differentiate iPSCs from patients with psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases into excitatory, inhibitory and dopaminergic neurons as well as macrophages and microglia. Pathomechanisms and their influence on the function of cells of the nervous system are investigated in single cultures or in combination of different cell types from healthy and diseased individuals. We focus on characterizing the formation and function of neuronal networks, as well as on the interaction between immune cells and neurons.