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Elisa Maes

PhD Candidate

Neural stem cells generate the neurons and glia of the brain. Neurogenesis in most regions of the mammalian brain stops soon after birth but in some species neural stem cells remain in defined niches and retain the potential to produce new cells. The ventricular region of the subventricular zone (V-SVZ) and the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) are the two best studied neurogenic zones in the adult mouse brain.

With advancing age, the activity and function of neural stem cells in the adult brain reduces progressively, culminating in a compromised capacity for robust tissue repair and regeneration. This phenomenon is integral to the understanding of age-related degenerative conditions and the attenuation of regenerative potential in aging individuals.

Previous research, including studies from our group, has highlighted the importance of Notch proteins and their signaling in neural stem cells, underscoring the pivotal role of Notch pathway in regulating neural stem cells maintenance, proliferation and differentiation, and hence neurogenesis.

Understanding the mechanism that control stem cell activity holds promise to gain insights into neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, potentially paving the way for innovative therapies.
For this purpose, our research aims to unravel the functions of Notch1 and Notch2 proteins in embryonic and adult neurogenesis using cutting-edge transcriptomic and proteomic analyses in both mouse models and human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

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