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In vivo therapeutic target identification and validation

In vivo neuronal modulation using an AAV toolbox

The emergence of gene based in vivo neuronal modulation in the form of optogenetics has brought about a number of promising technologies for selective, modulatable control of nerve cell function is the adult brain. 
With this research we aim to deploy and develop novel adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector based technologies enabling “pharmacogenetic” control of selected neuronal pathways in the parkinsonian brain. The combination of transgenesis and AAV vectors will allow for temporal elucidation of mechanisms such as the induction of involuntary movements (dyskinesias) in Parkinson’s disease as well as cognitive impairments in related disorders.

In vivo gene expression studies

Building on the data generated in the above-mentioned research line, this line of projects aims to dissect cellular signaling pathways and degenerative mechanisms that are at the core of neurodegenerative disorders.

Through the utilization of transgenic reporter strains AAV vectors and next-generation molecular probes, this project aims to allow for direct FACS aided sorting of distinct, distributed neuronal populations for deep sequencing and RNAseq.