We study the molecular and cellular mechanisms behind brain development and how these are affected in autism spectrum disorder

A secondary goal of our lab is to determine how histone methylation contributes to the cellular heterogeneity in the adult brain


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Scientific and non-scientific events

Latest news
  • Single-cell profiling adult human neural stem cells

    New paper led by Vanessa Donega of the Elly Hol lab is out in Nature communications! Single cell characterisation of the adult human subventricular zone identifies SFRP1 as a quiescence signal. Happy to have contributed as a collaborator tot his research performed at the Translational Neuroscience Department of the UMC Utrecht Brain Center

    See the original article at: https://translationalneuroscience.nl/news/donega-nscs/

    Neural stem cells (NSCs) of the subventricular zone (SVZ) remain mostly in a dormant state in the adult human brain after closure of the neurogenic period at birth. These dormant progenitors rarely proliferate or produce neurons. How an adult human NSC is maintained in this quiescent state and could be triggered to re-activate is still unclear.

    In this recent publication at Nature Communications, Vanessa Donega, Elly Hol and colleagues unravel a possible mechanism through which progenitors of the adult human SVZ are maintained in a dormant state. They used state-of-the-art single-cell RNA sequencing to profile the molecular characteristics of a major neural stem cell niche in the adult human brain. They identify the Wnt pathway antagonist SFRP1 as a possible signal that promotes neural stem cell quiescence in the aged human SVZ. Furthermore, they show that inhibition of SFRP1 stimulates neural stem cell activation both in vivo and in vitro. This work opens up future possibilities to stimulate neural stem cells of the human brain to promote repair.

    “I am very happy that this work is out, and I am excited to continue investigating the role of SFRP1 in regulating neural stem cell quiescence.” Vanessa Donega

    This work was performed primarily at our Translational Neuroscience department of the UMC Brain center. This work was supported by ZonMw, by the MAXOMOD consortium, a Ministry of Science and Technology of China grant, Theme-based Research Scheme, Health and Medical Research Fund and CUHK Direct Grant

  • New PhD course from the UMC Brain Center


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