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SoCoBio (Universities of Southampton, Kent, Sussex, Portsmouth and NIAB EMR)

Unveiling the role of ApoE in microglial development and function

Main supervisor: Dr Diego Gomez-Nicola (University of Southampton)
Co-Supervisor: Dr Sarah King (University of Sussex)

Project Summary

The contribution of the brain’s resident innate immune system, led by microglia, to the function and dysfunction of the central nervous system is now well established. Microglia function is critical to maintain normal brain development, wiring and homeostasis. However, most of our understanding of the roles of microglia arise from the study of rodent models, while the picture of the origin, maintenance and role of human microglia is not yet defined: we need to evolve to experimental systems that investigate human microglia in context. Here, we propose the development of a novel, chimeric, organotypic culture, in which to study human microglia in the context of a complex physiological environment. Specifically, we will apply this novel platform to the investigation of the role of ApoE, a gene recently described as key for the function and dysfunction of microglia.