Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Department or Program
Shubhik K. DebBurman
Robert A. Marr, Rosalind Franklin University
Benjamin E. Zeller
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), the world’s most common neurodegenerative disorder, remains without effective treatment or cure. While animal models have helped understand AD pathogenesis, failures of multiple phase 3 clinical trials make alternate AD models an urgent need. The advent of human induced neuron (HiN) technology has made modelling AD in human cells feasible. In fact, a direct reprogramming method of converting diseased and healthy patient fibroblasts into HiNs is now possible, without the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) yet preserving the epigenetic characteristics of patient fibroblasts. Using this method, we found that: 1) human fibroblasts can be directly converted into HiNs; 2) such HiNs exhibit disease-specific electrophysiological properties; 3) they preserve aspects of AD pathology and aging deficits; 4) and it is optimizable. Our results support the notion that direct reprogramming is a valid model of AD, and optimizable for more reliable resemblance to a human neuron.
Houcek, Aiden James, "Optimizing Direct Conversion of Human Fibroblasts into Neurons to Model Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology" (2020). Senior Theses.
Available for download on Saturday, April 24, 2021