Microplatform for minimally-invasive spatio-temporal modulation of immune dynamics in the brain

2015 Seed Grant
Beata Chertok, Ph.D.
University of Michigan

The goal of this project is to develop tiny devices the size of blood cells that can be injected into the blood stream and non-invasively activated in specific locations of the brain to release molecules and genes with pre-programmed timing. These devices will be used to modulate responses of the immune system in the brain. When the immune system fights infections in the normal brain, the specific location and the timing of activation of the immune system components is tightly regulated. This regulation becomes abnormal in many brain disorders including neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury and brain tumors. The abnormal immune response acts to stimulate the disease instead of fighting it. By delivering molecules and genes that can modulate immune system activities in specific locations and with a pre-designed timing of presentation in the brain, we hope to re-program the immune system to fight the disease. During the time-frame of the proposed project, we will explore the ability of our devices to modulate the immune system components in brain tumors in mice. If successful, we will work on further development of this technology for therapy of brain tumors and other disorders of the human brain.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The Role of Microglial Lysosomes in Selective Neuronal Vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the Nervous System Constructs Internal Models of the External World
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the Orchestra of Movement—Functional Role of Striatal Astrocytes in Health and Disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…