Isabelle is a PhD student who is performing her reasearch under supervision of Prof. Movahedi. The title and summary of her project is:
Microglia are the main immune cells in the central nervous system.
Besides defending the brain from incoming threats, they are
instrumental in maintaining the tissue in a healthy state. The brain is a complex organ, harboring many distinct microenvironments, each characterized by unique cell populations that communicate with microglia. However, the bi-directional communication between microglia and their environment remains poorly understood. In this project we will use powerful methods to unravel the cellular and molecular interactions within the microglial “niche” at single-cell resolution. We wish to understand how the various cell types and environmental signals affect each other and how microglia are kept in a resting state or become activated. This is of particular importance
in the search for novel therapies to combat a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, in which the immune system is emerging as a critical player. During neurodegeneration, microglia are seen to chronically lose their resting state, but it remains unclear whether this amplifies or halts disease progression. By using new genetic tools to break microglial homeostasis and to track their fate during disease progression and resolution, we will further elucidate the importance of microglial (dys)regulation for brain homeostasis and disease. A better understanding of microglial regulation within the brain will offer new opportunities in the fight against neurodegeneration.