A team of University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists has developed the first 3D-printed brain tissue that can grow and function like typical brain tissue.
Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and retinitis pigmentosa all have different manifestations and affect different body functions, but they are all connected by one mechanism: neurodegeneration.
Researchers a have identified a protein key to the development of a type of brain cell believed to play a role in disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and used the discovery to grow the neurons from stem cells for the first time.
When Su-Chun Zhang, MD, PhD, picked up the phone to answer a call in 2001, he could barely understand the man speaking on the other line. “I could not hear his voice clearly,” says Zhang, a Waisman investigator and professor of neuroscience and neurology. It turns out that the man, who was calling from Texas, was on a ventilator which was garbling his voice.
A new study will investigate if language differences can predict the development of a neurodegenerative disorder in people that carry a premutation of the gene FMR1.
Over two decades of fundamental research in Parkinson’s disease led by Su-Chun Zhang, MD, PhD, professor of neuroscience and neurology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Waisman investigator, has culminated in the development of a promising stem cell-based treatment for the disease.
James Thomson helped the scientific world turn its attention to the shape-shifting stem cells that give rise to all of the building blocks of complex living organisms, from skin and bone, to hearts and blood, to neurons and brains.
Grafting neurons grown from monkeys’ own cells into their brains relieved the debilitating movement and depression symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison reported today.
The mature brain is infamously bad at repairing itself following damage like that caused by trauma or strokes, or from degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. Stem cells, which are endlessly adaptable, have offered the promise of better neural repair. But the brain’s precisely tuned complexity has stymied the development of clinical treatments.
Su-Chun Zhang, MD, PhD, the Steenbock Professor in Behavioral and Neural Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Waisman Center investigator, is part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers selected by the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative to receive $9 million over three years for the “Parkinson5D: Deconstructing Proximal Disease Mechanisms Across Cells, Space and Progression” or PD5D project.