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Differentiation of stem cells by intrinsic and extrinsic factors

Stem cells are attractive as a source for replacement of lost nerve cells in the injured or diseased nervous system by transplantation. A major problem with this approach is to improve survival of transplanted stem cells (which first have to be immature in order to survive) and to differentiate them later to the desired type of nerve cells. Our research aims at developing novel tools to regulate long term survival and specific differentiation of transplanted stem cells.

One approach is to insert in the stem cells gene-regulatory system which can be activated from the outside after transplantation. Using this approach we have been able to generate specific types of sensory neurons from transplanted neural stem cells by activating the expression of a gene which regulates the normal development of these neurons (Stem Cells, 2009). Using a similar gene-regulatory system we have been able to promote differentiation to specific types of neurons from transplanted human neural stem cells (Stem Cells Dev, 2011). In parallel with these studies we employ novel delivery systems for in vivo relase of molecules which drive normal differentiation of specific neurons. The results of these studies can contribute to improved survival and differentiation of stem cells for cell replacement therapy in neurological disorders.


Project members:

Elena Kozlova, docent

Håkan Aldskogius, prof

Mariya Koshevnikova, postdoc

Niclas König, doktorand

Ninnie Abrahamsson, BMA

Carl Trolle, projektstud


Richardson Leao, Inst för neurovetenskap, Uppsala universitet

Inst för teknikvetenskaper; Nanoteknologi och funktionella material, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Uppsala universitet

Inst för neurovetenskap och farmakologi, Panuminstitutet, Köpenhamns universitet

RIKEN hjärnforskningsinstitut, Saitama, Japan




Elena Kozlova

Group leader:

Prof. Elena Kozlova