Neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases have a devastating impact on millions of people around the world. It is unethical to study and treat these diseases because neurons cannot be isolated and studied from the brains of living patients. The goal of this proposal is to develop new technologies that can be used for the rapid generation of neurons from non-neuronal cells (for example, skin cells) easily obtained from human patients. We expect that our research will facilitate the translational studies of neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases and development of new treatments.
Statement of Benefit to California:
Neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases affect thousands of people in California and have a devastating impact on patients and their family members. Unfortunately, progress in understanding the etiology and treatment of these diseases has been slow. One reason for this is that, unlike many other cell types, neurons cannot be isolated from living patients. This proposal aims to develop new technologies that can be used for the rapid generation of neurons from non-neuronal cells. This research may impact the translational studies of neuronal disease and development of new treatment. Thus, our research may significantly improve the quality of life of Californian residents and positively influence the state economy.