Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Meet the MiCO Platform team

The team behind the MiCO Platform project aims to develop an alternative to the animal models currently used to validate drug candidates. With a starting point in human stem cells, the team will develop so-called miniaturized controlled organoids (artificial mini-brains), which will provide a more accurate model for human neurological disorders. The MiCO Platform project is one of the first five projects funded in ODIN, and you can read more about the principal investigators below.

Assoc. Prof. Mark Denham, group leader of the Stem Cell and Translational Neurobiology lab at DANDRITE Aarhus University. His research group is interested in identifying signalling cues and transcriptional regulators used during development to specify pluripotent stem cells into mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons. The group's goal is to apply this knowledge towards developing a new cell therapy for Parkinson's disease and modelling disease states in the dish. In the MiCO project, his lab will be focused on developing the miniaturised organoids, which will represent various region of the human brain.

 

Prof. Daniel Otzen, group leader of the Protein Biophysics group at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. His research involves understand how protein aggregates are formed in disease states and health. They investigate how aggregation can be controlled and inhibited by small molecules and surface-active compounds. This knowledge is used to combat neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. In the MiCO project, his group will test various aggregate inducers and inhibitors on Parkinson’s patient-derived organoids to understand if the MiCO platform can be used as a model system for screening drug compounds. 

 

Dr. Jonathan Niclis, Specialist Scientist at Novo Nordisk. Jonathan has an extensive background in stem cell biology and in vivo cell transplantation. His background specialises in developing cell transplantation therapies for Parkinson’s disease. In particular, his research involves examining how stem cell develop and synaptically integrate after transplantation into an adult brain. In the MiCO project, his team will be transplanting dopaminergic progenitors into a Parkinson’s disease rodent model and examining by single-cell sequencing the transcriptome of the in vivo matured cells.

 

Dr. Morten Venø, Co-founder, CEO of Omiics. Morten has been working with next generation sequencing for 10 years in Denmark and the USA. Morten has broad bioinformatics experience including the analysis of single-cell sequencing data. In the MiCO project, he will be using bioinformatics techniques to compare the developmental state of cells matured in long-term organoids against those transplanted into rodents.

Read more about the first five projects funded in ODIN.