Characterising and inducing a protective microglia phenotype in human Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite intensive research into Alzheimer’s disease, we still have no cure. Recent studies show a strong genetic association of late onset Alzheimer’s disease to microglia, a critical cell type in the brain essential for proper functioning of nerve cells and removing damage in the brain. We discovered two types of microglia in the brains of mice modelling Alzheimer’s disease. Our data unveiled that one type of microglia protects the brain by removing damage associated with Alzheimer’s, whereas the other show a prematurely aging identity. This project will investigate whether the same types of microglia that we discovered in the mouse also exist in the brains of human Alzheimer’s patients, and whether they play the same role in human disease. Our analyses predicted drugs that can control the switch between the two types of microglia. In this project, we will test whether turning microglia into our newly discovered beneficial type can yield new cellular manipulation technologies for therapeutic intervention to benefit people living with dementia.
Dr Grubman is an National Health and Medical Research Council – Australian Research Council Dementia Research Development Fellow in the lab of Jose Polo at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University.