The Future of Neuroregeneration

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Hanifa Mohammed


As the average lifespan for humans is growing, neurodegenerative diseases are becoming more common. The two most common neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Both of these diseases cause the progressive degeneration of the central nervous system (CNS). To combat the effects of these disorders it’s crucial to be able to regenerate the lost neurons. The issue is that cells in the brain reduce their plasticity as age increases, leading to little to no regeneration of the lost cells. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) is a new avenue of research regarding neuroregeneration as the ability to specialize them into neurons provides a method to combat the progressive degenerative nature of neurodegenerative diseases. Research in AD has shown successful experiments in specializing iPSCs into glial cells and cholinergic neurons to improve memory loss in AD mice. Research in PD has shown a method to specialize iPSC to neurons and thereby obtaining patient-specific transplants. The transplants and their effects have been successful in many animal models, leading to the potential of clinical trials in the near future.

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Author Biography

Hanifa Mohammed, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hanifa is a Senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology with Honors Concentration and minoring in Philosophy. She has been interested in neuroscience after reading Paul Kalanithi's autobiography When Breath Becomes Air. In addition to writing for Brain Matters, Hanifa is currently researching the effect of AVP on the brain's glymphatic system in Dr. Martha Gillette's lab. She volunteers at Carle, Avicenna, Salt and Light, and the Illini Medical Screening Society.