The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Tomas Björklund

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Generation of the genetic designer drug: Development of novel AAV capsids for in vivo assessment of neuronal circuit function and gene transfer connectomics

Tomas Björklund
Molecular Neuromodulation, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University, Sweden

How nerve cells connect in the brain and who talks to whom are important determinants for how the brain works. Is there any possibility that we could map these connections, understand what each connection is responsible for and figure out how they should work for the brain to remain healthy? This is a question of unprecedented complexity due to the pure scale of the problem. In our research, we are trying to look at this problem in a new way. We aim to use nature’s most efficient invaders, namely viruses, to infect the brain with secret messengers. These viral messengers carry with them information about who they are and where they come from in the form of unique DNA sequences. When they replicate, and spread to the next neuron they will then leave this information behind, generating a trace for each viral particle that we can follow. This trace can then be mapped using new sequencing technologies. In this way we can, circuit by circuit, piece by piece, generate an exact map of the mammalian brain and through this come one step closer to gaining an understanding of how the brain works.

Chairperson: Clive R. Bramham <clive.bramham@uib.no>, Department of Biomedicine