Mechano-chemical modulation of axon outgrowth using a novel, high-throughput in vitro model system

Car accidents, falls, violence, sports: these are the leading causes of spinal cord injury, whose victims are mainly healthy young men. To counter the traumatic effects of such injuries, we need to know more about why the central nervous system fails to repair itself. When neurons grow, they are guided by chemical and mechanical factors, but studies rarely consider how these interact. Using new kinds of nanoparticles as “magnetic tweezers”, Blasiak explores therapeutic approaches untested until now.

To regrow a spinal cord

In her own words...

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most challenging life risks confronted by today’s society. SCI is often related to risky behaviour and mostly affects the healthy young male population, where a high number of the trauma-related SCI cases are accounted to motor vehicle accidents. Recent research suggests that an effective treatment strategy should combine multiple approaches. The long-term objective of this project is to broaden the understanding of regenerative abilities of central nervous system (CNS) neurons using an in vitro model that enables simultaneous mechanical and chemical stimulation of axons in a massively parallel fashion.

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University College Dublin