KEYNOTE LECTURE

April 1st
TBA
TBA

Human 3D Brain Organoids: A Discovery Tool for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Injuries

Dr. Andras Lakatos, a leading figure in the study of developmental and pathological aspects of astrocyte-neuron interactions, is leading a team of researchers who are creating 3D human brain organoid models, cell by cell. The organoid models, which are pluripotent stem cell derived, provide a better understanding of the interactions between astrocytes and neurons, as well as an insight into the development of neurodegenerative diseases. 

Through this research model, Lakatos was able to showcase the distinct disturbances in astrocytes and neurons, in a cortical organoid derived from a patient with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis overlapping with frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD). This disease is fatal and currently untreatable, due to the rapid cognitive decline and paralysis, so elucidating initial cellular pathways is indeed an astounding feat. Dr. Lakatos and his team found that astroglia display increased levels of the autophagy signaling protein P62 and that deep layer neurons undergo a series of molecular changes that could be pharmacologically rescued by GSK2606414, the first drug of its kind. He thus proved that cortical organoids are not only useful in preclinical investigations, but also in determining innovative treatment approaches for neurodegenerative diseases.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKER

Andras Lakatos

Dr. Andras Lakatos is a neuroscientist with a specific interest in neuroregeneration and a pioneer in the field of brain organoids. He is currently a Group Leader in Neurobiology at the University of Cambridge, specifically at Cambridge Center for Brain Repair and the MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute. He leads a lab comprising passionate neuroscientists researching 3D human brain organoids.

His team has published several articles in a number of well-known journals, such as Nature Neuroscience, Neuron and Nature Communications.

He was awarded the MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2017. Currently, he is also an Academic Consultant Neurologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, UK and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP).