Research Areas

Development of Transplantable Neural Progenitor Cells

Stem cell transplantation offers many potential therapeutic possibilities. Implanted stem cells have been shown capable of repairing damaged brain tissue. Obstacles remain, however, before this promise can be fully realized. The Sareen Laboratory is developing culturing methods that generate abundant neural progenitor cells from adult humans. These cells integrate into hosts and grow normally following implantation in rat and pig models.

Application of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) Toward Treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Expanding the representation of defective motor neurons in culture enables us to better understand the forces that dictate the severity of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). These cultured representatives of Type I, II and III SMA are amenable to study through assays and imaging. Through compound screening and large-scale analyses, the Sareen Laboratory studies the survival profiles of motor neurons in response to environmental, genetic and epigenetic forces.

Dysregulation of Motor Neurons Due to C9ORF72 Repeat Expansion in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Patients

Using iPSC motor neurons from patients with familial ALS, Sareen Laboratory members can identify the discrete cellular effects of a mutation signature of ALS. By determining the mode of action of this mutation, the Sareen Lab seeks to learn more about the proteomic and regulatory mechanisms that cause ALS. Elucidating these mechanisms may allow us to identify points at which these errant processes might be disrupted or mitigated.

Neural Impacts on Metabolism and Energy Homeostasis in Type 2 Diabetes

The hypothalamic, pituitary, endocrine and autonomic pathways regulate metabolic rate and energy homeostasis. Hormonal regulation from the stomach, the pancreas and distributed fat deposits cause neuroinflammation that can impair the functioning of neurons, which regulate feeding and satiety signals from the brain. The Sareen Lab seeks to investigate the forms these connections take in stem cell models to find better treatments for obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Multidimensional "Organs-on-a-Chip" Models

Utilizing principles of organogenesis and bioengineering, the Sareen Lab is creating iPSC-based complexes, i.e., organs-on-a-chip. These models will enable new and previously impossible observations on the workings and dysfunctions within organ tissues.