Characterisation of human stem cell-derived cortical neurons

The study of neuronal GPCRs in native human tissue is mostly limited to frozen post-mortem brain samples, which limits the breadth of data that can be generated. A novel protocol using human stem cells to generate cortical neuronal cultures in a short time-frame will form the basis of a pharmacological and neurochemical project, with a focus on orphan GPCR targets for the treatment of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. The development of this new approach will open the door for the use of schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s patient stem cell samples for the study of novel GPCR drugs.

This project will involve the culture of human inducible pluripotent stem cells into a cortical neuronal phenotype and viral transduction of biosensors, quantitative real-time PCR, immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy; along with second messenger signalling using classical and biosensor methods.

The outcomes of this project will provide a detailed insight into the use of human stem-cell derived cortical neurons in the drug development pipeline, in addition to a further understanding of how orphan GPCRs may be exploited to treat neurological and neuropsychiatric disease.