The Stem Cell Laboratory in the Department of Neuroscience are investigating new treatments for a class of patients that do not respond to mainstream anti-seizure medications (ASMs). Our laboratory has created patient-derived neurons for the purpose of creating an in vitro disease model to test the efficacy of these potentially life-changing novel ASMs. We are able to generate cortical neurons by rapid differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) cells derived from healthy and epileptic individuals. These cortical neurons are capable of firing action potentials and are able to form functional synapses in vitro. In this Honours project we will investigate the potential therapeutic role of current and novel ASMs and newly identified drug targets. We will assess the ability of these ASMs to restore normative behaviour to patient-derived cortical neural cultures. The successful outcomes of this treatment will be assessed by changes in neural excitability and through changes in network behaviour using a specialised neural platform known as a multi electrode array (MEA). In addition, this project will require the techniques of stem cell-based in vitro cell culture, immunohistochemistry and gene expression analysis using real time PCR.
Stem Cells, Epilepsy, Drug Discovery, Neuroscience,
Masters by research
Masters by coursework