Induced-Pluripotent Stem Cell approaches to model disease
Affecting over 1% of the world’s population, including 3 million Americans, schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder characterized by an array of symptoms including hallucinations, delusions, difficulty expressing emotions, and deficits in attention and memory. Despite the currently available antipsychotics, patients suffering schizophrenia have a life expectancy 10 years lower than that of the general population, are prone to substance abuse, homelessness, and are at risk of suicide. As a result, both the toll exacted on the lives of individuals suffering from the disorder and the public health costs are substantial. There is currently no cure for schizophrenia, and research into the causes of the disease, including the anatomical and physiological disruptions in the brain, has been difficult because little is known about the underlying pathology of cells in patients. To elucidate the anatomical and physiological deficits found in the patients with schizophrenia, this project uses induced- Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) into an animal system and imaging the structure and function of these cells in vivo. The long term goal is to identify potential targets that could be used for treatment.
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