Neural stem cell school in Tuscany
Stem cells exist in the developing and adult nervous system and are able to generate neuronal and glial cells both in vivo and in vitro. Unprecedented advances have been made in our understanding of stem cells and through them much can be learned about the physiology and pathophysiology of the cells that degenerate in different brain disorders with the objective of delivering therapeutically relevant stem cells. The Course will bring together a roster of investigators who are at the forefront of research and will discuss the frontiers of neural stem cells in development and for neurorepair.
After familiarizing participants with the early findings that have led to the identification, characterization, and isolation of neural stem cells and the data that clarify the nature of this research area, specific aspects of human brain development relevant for directing stem cells into specific neuronal and glial fates will be analyzed with highlights on recent novel important perspectives.
The course will further focus on specific aspects of the potential of human pluripotent stem cells as a source of neurons and glial cells for mechanistic, transplantation and pharmacological screening approaches. The Faculty members are the investigators who have pioneered the very first attempts at generating specialized neurons from human embryonic stem (ES) cells. They have also identified alternative scalable sources of neural progenitors. Accordingly, human ES and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived neural stem cell populations have been obtained which can be expanded to homogeneity, while retaining the capacity to mature into functional neurons. The participants will hear these data first-hand from the leading investigators actively involved in cutting-edge research and emphasis will be placed on the most recent achievements obtained with human iPS/directly reprogrammed cells for neurological diseases.