Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder whose causes are not fully understood. Recent work by scientists at Yale University has shown that organoids – miniature three-dimensional organ buds – grown from stem cells could help shed some light on autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
I always wanted to contribute to scientific progress in stem cell research. Stem cells are helping us to understand degenerative disease and cancer, and a deep understanding of their basic biology is a pre-requisite for clinical application. My PhD project, at Strasbourg University in France, was about the plasticity (adaptability to change) of brain stem cells in fruit flies. After graduating, I decided to get deeper knowledge, and joined Prof. Uri Frank’s team in 2013, attracted by the model organism used to understand the basic biology of stem cells.
In this post, Jamie takes a closer look at some of the key questions and challenges in autism research today, and how stem cells might help. Read on for more about:
The complex nature of the genetics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is just one of the many challenges in researching this topic. In the past decade we have found candidate genes implicated in many areas, such as the growth and development of neuronal cells, regulation of signalling molecules involved in the immune system, and mitochondrial function.
A lot of stem cell research happens in universities and other academic centres, but companies will play an increasing role as research progresses towards new medical applications. To get a flavour of how small companies are getting involved with cell therapy research and the challenges they face, meet Stephen Elliman, Head of Research and Development at Orbsen Therapeutics. Our partners have spoken to Steve and you can read and watch on film some of the things he told us.
My name is Jamie Reilly. I am currently undertaking a PhD at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). I am in my first year of a 4-year programme (in fact I only started 3 months ago, so there have been no regrets yet!). I am also an individual on the autistic spectrum, having not been able to speak until I was 5 years old, and didn't possess usable language until I was 8-9 years old.
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) played host to the 2014 Debating Science Issues (DSI) All-Ireland Finals last Thursday. St Joseph's Secondary CBS, Fairview from Dublin emerged as eventual winners of the competition.
The Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) is set to launch today at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), National University of Ireland, Galway. It is the first facility in Ireland to receive a licence from the Irish Medicines Board to manufacture expanded stem cells for human use, and one of only five of its kind in Europe.
Pre-clinical research has generated some very promising findings using adult stem cells for the treatment of diabetic wounds. The research carried out by scientists at NUI Galway, is published in this month’s Diabetes the official journal of the American Diabetes Association.