INSTITUTIONS AND INVESTIGATORS
ASCTN-Training gathers 9 academic and industrial beneficiaries and 2 partner organizations. The project exploits the interdisciplinary and intersectorial opportunities by bringing together and integrating researchers with distinct scientific backgrounds. The common goal unifying the partners is to provide strong training on stem technologies for neurosciences and to develop novel tools to bridge the current gap existing in models for neuronal disorders.
Josep M Canals - University of Barcelona (Coordinator of the ASCTN-Training consoritum)
Prof. Canals has large experience and in-house technology for research on neuron dysfunction, mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuroprotection with neurotrophic factor mainly focussed on GDNF and BDNF, brain development, stem cell differentiation and cell production (Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products, ATMPS) in GMP environment. Technologies available are several neurodegenerative mouse models, mouse behavioural assays, in vivo drug delivery, optogenetics in vivo and in vitro, stem cell differentiation into 2D and 3D functional networks, brain-on-chip technologies, histological techniques and different types of omics (microarrays, RNAseq, Chipseq and OpenArray). As scientific supervisors of a GMP production facility at the UB, Prof. Canals also have access to protocols and clinical applications related to stem cells, pre-clinical development of ATMPs, toxicology and drug screening platforms based on human cells, including pluripotent stem cells and human somatic stem cell isolation, characterization and expansion, and feasibility studies, intellectual property management and technology transfer.
Nick Allen and Anne Rosser - Cardiff University
Both supervisors have extensive experience in the supervision and examination of PhD students. They provide academic mentorship and will coordinate training in all areas of the projects including technical work for hPSC culture, manipulation and differentiation for both in vitro and in vivo animal studies, and for all analytical areas of the project. ESRs will be supported by program of monitoring for efficient progression. Where additional specific areas for expertise are needed the supervisors will recruit additional mentors to the local supervisory team. ESRs will also be made members of the University Graduate Academy, through which they will access multiple additional training opportunities for personal development in areas of research process, governance, ethics and public engagement as part of the Research Students Skills Development Programme (RSSDP).
Federico Calegari - Technical University of Dresden
Prof. F. Calegari has long experience in the study of mammalian Neural Stem Cells (NSC) during embryonic development and adulthood. This lab has pioneered methods and compositions to control the expansion of NSC in vivo allowing their controlled increase and generation of neurons in the brain. Technologies available in the lab include several transgenic mouse models, manipulation of NSC in developing mouse embryos in utero or by viral injections in the adult brain and combined with all necessary state-of-the-art techniques ranging from classical biochemistry and histology to omics as well as behavioural analysis. The lab is embedded within a campus developed with the concept of shared facilities and infrastructure, the so called Dresden Concept. This implies that across the campus facilities are available based on a recharging system without margin of profit. This includes about 30 facilities providing nearly any service desirable from basic ones usch as light and electron microscopy, animal husbandry, etc. to more sophisticated such as sequencing, electrophysiology, genome editing and generation of induced-Pluripotent Stem Cell lines. Part of the DIPP and Dresden Concept is that all students within the campus have unlimited access to all facilities for service and/or training in techniques they need.
Ernest Arenas - Karolinska Institute
My laboratory has been working during the last 20 years to understand the mechanisms controlling midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neuron development, maintenance and degeneration in Parkinson’s disease (PD). In the past, our work has focused on identifying the function of neurotrophic factors (neurotrophins, GDNF), Wnt family of morphogens as well as factors controlling mDA neurogenesis and differentiation (Nurr1, LXR, Neurogenin2) in the dopaminergic system. More recently we started a vigorous research program focusing on understanding the cellular and molecular composition of the mouse and human midbrain, at a single cell level, in development and in PD. Our goal is to integrate broad molecular and cellular information in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms controlling mDA development and maintenance, to develop novel cell replacement strategies for PD.
Alberto Martínez - Autonomous University of Madrid
Prof. Alberto Martínez Serrano (20% commitment), group Leader in the CBMSO on Human Neural Stem Cells (basic biology and applications). More recently, focuses his research on the study of human NSCs, in particular of their basic biological properties, and how to coax them for the development of mature, functional cells of the nervous system. He will be main supervisor for one ESR, co-supervise and mentoring several ESRs, and will be active in teaching and training at several levels.
CBMSO has fully equipped cell culture laboratories (biosafety level 2). In-house microscopy facilities – confocal scanning laser microscopy, electron microscopy, animal research facilities (including BL2 areas).
CBMSO counts with 21 technical and administrative services /facilities, among them (of relevance to the present proposal): Animal house, Bioinformatics, Flow Cytometry, Genomics, Electron Microscopy, Optical and Confocal Microscopy, Proteomic Facility.
Besides these specialized facilities, the CBMSO has general services for the researchers such as computing instruments and equipment, cell culture, labware facilities, and graphic design. It is important to point out that all of these facilities provide not only the opportunity to use their equipment, but also the training needed. [see www.cbm.uam.es for further details]. As a joint institute of Universidad Autonoma and CSIC research consortium we have granted access to the technical facilities of both entities on and off campus. Also, the UAM is an international “Excellence Campus”, and hosts many other research centres, and the Madrid Scientific Park
Josep Samitier - Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia
The Nanobioengineering lab offers the necessary infrastructure and facilities required for the completion of this project proposal. Prof. Samitier’s laboratory has access to fully functional infrastructure/equipment to be dedicated to the research field of this project. Moreover, available facilities: (i) IBEC’s Nanotechnology Platform in nanofabrication and bionanocharacterisation (class 10,000 cleanroom space and laboratories); (ii) BioSpace Lab for 3D culturing and bioprinting; and (iii) the powerful technological facilities at PCB, UB and UPC.
Giovanni Esposito - European Brain Council
Research Project Manager of the European Brain Council since March 2015. Prior to this position, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the VIB in Leuven (Belgium), where he worked for five years. His research at VIB focused on molecular events leading to Parkinson’s diseases. Giovanni holds a Master's Degree in Biology and a PhD in neurobiology from the University ‘Federico II’ of Naples (Italy). Within the EBC, Giovanni is responsible for the coordination of research projects addressing public health and social policies. He is currently involved in the H2020 project MULTIACT where he has a role as work package leader and innovation manager.
Jeremy Graham - Cairn Research
Mr. Jeremy Graham (Managing Director) has a significant input into and oversees numerous projects and equipment development at the company. He has over twenty five years experience in instrumentation and application development and training. Jeremy will work alongside our team of scientists and engineers to coordinate the training requirements. There is a strong research ethos at Cairn,they are a design and integration company with very close links to their academic customer base. The design processes bear a strong similarity to those for conducting a successful research programme, so the student is likely to benefit significantly from exposure to them. The students would work alongside Cairn's R&D group, with each member having key skills that can be taught to the student if appropriate during the project (e.g. electronic circuit design, optics, engineering). The student will learn about all aspects of the company during their secondment from product design, to manufacture, sales and marketing.
Yen Choo - Plasticell
Dr. Yen Choo has expertise and in-house technology at Plasticell Limited for research on hematopoietic stem cell therapies, manufacture of platelets, red blood cells and immune cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) using CombiCult®, Plasticell’s platform technology.
Plasticell is located within Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, a bio-incubator with a culture of open innovation. Tenants include The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, LifeArc (formerly MRC Technology) etc,. GE Healthcare Life Sciences, a global provider of tools, technologies and services for life science research and for the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, has a Technology Laboratory that tenants have access to. Tenants also have access to GSK facilities and opportunity to collaborate with them as Plasticell does (http://www.plasticell.co.uk/plasticell-and-gsk-sign-collaboration-agreement-to-produce-hematopoietic-cells-from-ipscs/).
At Plasticell the student will have access to facilities that cover all aspects of modern of biotechnology including: cell culture, drug discovery platform, CombiCult®, bioinformatics, flow cytometry etc., Through Plasticell’s collaboration with leading universities and innovative companies they will have access to cutting edge technologies.
Vania Broccoli - San Raffaele Hospital
The Division of Neuroscience is the biggest among the 5 research Divisions in OSR and offers a stimulating and competitive multi‐disciplinary environment with 42 research groups working on basic, translational and clinical topics. Regular meetings on weekly basis are organized for research Unit and Post-doctoral progress reports and journal clubs. OSR has an invited Lecture program to regularly host excellent foreigner scientists and learn about their current research activities. OSR provides state‐of‐the‐art core facilities including a Genomic Centre for high‐throughput sequencing and bioinformatics, flow-cytometry, confocal and animal imaging and two SPF graded animal facilities with 18.000 cages capacity in all. The Stem Cell and Neurogenesis Research Unit headed by the PI assembles a group of well-trained young scientists with a broad range of expertise in stem cell biology, cell reprogramming, cellular neuroscience, neurodevelopment, in vivo cell transplantation and functional neuroscience. The lab is equipped with a P2-graded cell culture facility for hiPSC cultures and AAV and lentivirus production. The wet-lab is fully furnished with molecular biology, histology and imaging equipment.
Fabien Guillemot - Poietis
Fabien has an over 20 years experience in the field of Regenerative Medicine. He holds a PhD in Material Science from the National Institute of Applied Sciences Rennes (2000) and an Habilitation in Health and Life Sciences from Bordeaux University (2010). Fabien was appointed Researcher at INSERM in 2005 and was also Invited Researcher at Harvard University in 2010. He initiated pioneering work in the field of bioprinting and has published over 20 scientific articles and more than 100 invited lectures on this new technology. He also completed its scientific training by an entrepreneurship program provided at HEC, Paris in 2012.
POIETIS management team has an overall professional experience of over 60 years, in:
i) assessing innovative markets and business development,
ii) conducting R&D projects., and
iii) developing and putting medical device and research products into the market.
Moreover the company employs 18 people today including 14 researchers with key strengths in cellular biology, hardware and software development.