Falk Laboratory - Research focus

Reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and directed differentiation opens up for studies on neural cells from patients. The Falk group is focusing on questions in early human neurogenesis.

A human patient iPS cell colony stained for pluripotency markers Oct4 in green and Tra1-81 in red
A human patient iPS cell colony stained for pluripotency markers Oct4 in green and Tra1-81 in red. Photo M. Shahsavani.

Research on Neurodevelopment

Using reprogramming to model diseases of the human brain

Reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and directed differentiation opens up for studies on neural cells from patients. 

The Falk group is focusing on fundamental questions in early human neurogenesis:

  • How do neural stem cells make their fate choices between self-renewal and differentiation? Between neurons and glia? How are these decisions hampered in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders? Are in vitro human neurogenesis, migration and maturation in 2D and/or 3D systems mimicking development in health and disease?
  • The regenerative potential of iPS derived cell types and the routes forward to clinic 

We build cellular models of the healthy and diseased human brain using reprogrammed patient cells.

We derive patient specific iPS cells that are further differentiated into patient specific neuroepithelial stem (NES) cells.

Both iPS and NES cell lines can be robustly expanded in culture and by applying efficient neuronal differentiation protocols we derive close to pure cultures of unlimited numbers of neurons.

We use the cellular models to study proliferation, self-renewal, and differentiation potential as well as the function and subtype of derived neurons to uncover disease mechanisms. 

The Falk lab is also driving translational projects investigating the regenerative potential of iPS cell derived neural cells in preclinical models with the aim to create ATMPs to take iPS derived cell to clinic. We have derived one of few clinical compliant GMP iPS cell lines that we have banked in a master bank and we are now investigating the route forward to clinic.