Main Focus

My lab focuses on advancing novel stem cell-based technologies to generate three-dimensional models that recapitulate the structural and functional organization of the human brain. We leverage these technologies to push the boundaries for personalized research on human-specific brain disorders and to identify strategies for facilitating brain repair.

My group is particularly interested to decode the communication that occurs between the human brain and the immune system and to understand how a derailment of this interaction can lead to disease. Aberrations in the function of microglia, the brain’s own resident immune cells, can trigger severe inflammatory processes, and recent findings suggest a critical involvement of such mechanisms in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Model systems to study these intricate and dynamic interactions in a human-specific setting have been severely limited. We are thus developing novel platforms that allow us to study how tissue-resident immune cells communicate with the human brain in health and disease contexts. Using these platforms, we establish personalized human disease models to investigate neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. We envision that the tools and strategies developed here will lead to advances in mechanism discovery and diagnosis of mental disorders that can ensure an early initiation of personalized treatment programs.

Offering PhD positions in 2024: Yes.

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