Understanding the rules of life

Category: Standard Studentships

Aging and neuronal function in induced-pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived neurons from diverse ethnic backgrounds

Project No. 2357


Primary Supervisor

Prof Louise Serpell- University of Sussex


Dr Mahmoud Maina – University of Sussex

Dr Arjuna Ratnayaka – University of Southampton


Induced pluripotent stem cells are an excellent model system to allow the investigation of biological processes in human cells.

These cells can be differentiated into many different cell types including neurons and retinal cells. Nearly all iPSC models are derived from human donors with similar genetic backgrounds of European origin. Our work is extending these model systems to generate and investigate iPSCs from African resident donors due to Africa’s significant human genetic diversity that is critical for understanding human health and diseases. These model systems will provide important genetic background in which to investigate human biology, aging and disease across populations. The aim of this work will be to examine the influence of genetic background in models of aging including Apolipoprotein E which is known to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease in European but not African populations.
This project will include specialist cell culture techniques with cutting edge correlative fluorescence microscopy with transmission electron microscopy to answer key questions relating to the influence of aging and oxidative stress on neuronal and retinal cell function.

Candidate qualities: an interest in Neurodegenerative Diseases and in neurons and cell culture work. Previous experience an advantage (but not a requirement).