|2014-||PhD candidate||Vrije University (VU) Amsterdam|
|2012-2014||Master of Science in Neuroscience and Immunology||Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany|
|2011-2012||Bachelor of Science in Neurodevelopment||Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany|
|2009-2011||Bachelor of Science in Biology||Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany|
Neurodevelopmental diseases are characterized by a delayed- or under- development of the brain caused by many different reasons.
Rett syndrome is a rare neurodevelopmental disease, which occurs in 1:10.000 newborn girls. It is mainly caused by a mutation in the Methyl CpG binding protein 2(MECP2) gene, located on the X-chromosome. Typical Rett patients show, after a relatively normal development in the first 6-18 month of age, a developmental delay followed by a regression of already learned abilities like speech motor skills. Typically stereotypic hand movements, autism like behaviour and seizures occur.
Next to MeCP2 deficient neurons, there is evidence that affected astrocytes are playing a key role in the development of the disease. To investigate the interaction between different cell types in the brain of Rett patients we created an in vitro disease model by generating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from Rett patients, which we further differentiated to either neurons or astrocytes. With investigating this model we hope to learn more about the mechanism of Rett and its influence on the maturation of the brain.
Massa MG, Gisevius B, Hirschberg S, Hinz L, Schmidt M, Gold R, Prochnow N, Haghikia A. Multiple Sclerosis Patient-Specific Primary Neurons Differentiated from Urinary Renal Epithelial Cells via Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. PLoS One. 2016 May 9;11(5):e0155274.
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