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A project of the GIGA-Neurosciences awarded by the King Baudouin Foundation
Retinal degeneration diseases, characterized by progressive loss of retinal cells, affect several million of persons worldwide and result in a progressive loss of visual abilities.
Currently, there is no effective treatment available for patients suffering from these conditions.
Recently, attention has been given to cell replacement therapy using retinal cells derived from induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells. The first clinical trials are ongoing using stem cell-derived retinal epithelial cells in patients suffering from Age Related Macular Degeneration disease (AMD).
Transplantation of stem cell derived retinal cells offers great promise for the treatment of patient suffering from various retinal degeneration diseases. However, the treatment of pathologies of the neuro-retina remains more challenging as grafted cells need to establish neuronal connections with each other and the patient’s retina after implantation. Very little is known about the mechanisms that drive the formation of functional synaptic connections in the retina and the neuron circuit formation by transplanted neurons which is presently a major bottleneck in making iPS-derived neuro-retinal cells (including photoreceptor cells) useful in the clinic.
In this regard, this project aims to study and ultimately manipulate the process of synaptogenesis in a special in vitro system (embryoïd body (EB) based 3D retinal cultures) derived from mouse iPS-cells as a means towards enhancing functional recovery upon transplantation. This 3D culture system best recapitulates the normal development of the embryotic retinal tissue and offers the possibility to generate all retinal cell lineages in their properly layered configuration, hence recreating several structural features of the native retina. Using the most up-to-date single cell technologies and CRISPR/CAS9 methodology, this project will shed light on the fundamental mechanisms underlying synaptogenesis in the retina, which may lead to novel intervention strategies to foster functional recovery in patients.
Bénédicte Machiels and Mickaël Dourcy, under the direction of Laurent Gillet (Laboratory of Immunology-Vaccinology (FARAH)), and their colleagues from ULiège and UGent, investigated the imprinting left by the herpesviruses, and more specifically gammaherpesviruses, on the immune system of their host. In fact, gammaherpesviruses (including the Epstein-Barr virus, responsible for infectious mononucleosis in humans) are very common viruses having co-evolved with
On 10th November 2017, the 11th Annual Meeting of the Graduate school “Structure et Fonctions des Macromolécules Biologiques, Bioinformatique et Modélisation” (SFMBBM) is taking place at the University of Liège. This year’s meeting aims to represent the spectrum of biological macromolecules, from nucleic acids to proteins and their interactions, and from their physiological function to
Researchers from the GIGA Cellular and Molecular Immunology Laboratory (led by Nathalie Jacobs) and ULB’s Pharmacotherapy and Pharmaceutical Pharmacy Department (led by David Vermijlen) have investigated unconventional T lymphocytes cells expressing a receptor composed of γ and δ chains, in the specific case of human papillomavirus-induced (HPV) cervical cancer. Of all tumor-infiltrating leukocytes, T cells bearing