Prof. Dr. Nilima Prakash
The age-related and progressive loss of midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons and their dysfunction, respectively, lead to severe neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases. As developmental neurobiologists, we are interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms initially committing a human neural progenitor cell to the mDA neuron fate and later promoting the survival of these neurons.
Our current research is focussed on activity- and calcium-dependent genes and processes that are implicated in the proper development and/or function of mDA neurons derived from CRISPR/Cas9-modified hiPSCs and hiPSCs from idiopathic Parkinson’s patients and healthy donors. The main goal of this research are potential diagnostic markers for disease predisposition and progression, as well as preventive and therapeutic interventions to modify or even halt disease onset and progression, respectively.