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Research network ForInter

The compound

In the human brain, different specialized cell populations, such as neurons and glial cells, are arranged in a complex blueprint. The different cells form functional and dynamic networks and their interplay is essential for the different functions of the brain.

Many questions about the role of the different cells in the functions of the brain, both in health and in disease, remain unanswered to this day. Post-mortem tissue is available for structural study of the brain. However, neuroanatomical or -pathological examination only statically depicts a defined point in time of the disease process and life. For a better understanding of physiological and pathological function, dynamic and/or functional studies of the interplay of the different human brain cells are necessary.

Thus, the Bavarian Research Network ForInter (Research Network Interaction of Human Brain Cells) aims to investigate the interaction of different cell types of the human brain in multidimensional cell culture systems. The working hypothesis is:

Defined human cell-cell systems are able to model physiological and pathological interactions of the human brain.

Developments in biology and stem cell research in recent years have set the stage for the generation of multidimensional cell culture systems and cerebral organoids (mini brains) that promise novel insights into structural and dynamic interactions. As models, these enable the study of both the normal human physiology of brain development and pathogenic processes.

ForInter brings together scientists from neurobiology, with expertise in basic biology and stem cell biology, as well as scientists from neuropathology and translational neurology. The neurobiological expertise is interdisciplinarily complemented and strengthened by scientists from bioinformatics and the field of ethics and law.

Within the network, the latest methodological tools are available for the work in the projects.
Platforms such as

  •     the generation of specific cell types and neural organoids
  •     the co-cultivation of different cell types of the nervous system in 2D or 3D structures

and methodological tools like

  •     the single cell RNA seq analysis
  •     the modification of single genes/gene segments (genome editing) using the gene scissors CRISPR/CAS9
  •     bioinformative data analysis

new approaches in the study of brain development, physiological function and also the development of diseases.

The primary goal of the ForInter research network is to analyze cell-cell interactions of human neural cells. The following cell types differentiated from IPSZ will be used for this purpose: Neurons (with different neurotransmitter phenotypes), oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, microglia, pericytes.