Dr Madeline Lancaster

Madeline Lancaster

University position

Group Leader

Dr Madeline Lancaster is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Departments

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Institutes

Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Email

mlancast@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk

Home page

http://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/madelin...

Research Theme

Developmental Neuroscience

Interests

Human brain development exhibits a number of unique characteristics, such as dramatic size expansion, unique cell types, and distinct neural stem cell behaviors. These characteristics are difficult to examine in model organisms such as mice and are often involved in neurological diseases unique to humans, like autism and schizophrenia.

In an effort to better understand human brain development, we have developed a new model system, called cerebral organoids. Cerebral organoids, or mini-brains for short, are 3D tissues generated from human pluripotent stem cells that allow modelling of human brain development in vitro. Through a process of directed differentiation and a supportive 3D microenvironment, neural precursor tissue can spontaneously self-organize to form the stereotypic organization of the early human embryonic brain.

Our current interests focus on neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as comparative evolutionary studies aimed at identifying factors in human brain evolution.

Cross section of a brain organoid. Neural stem cells in red, neurons in green.
Cross section of a brain organoid. Neural stem cells in red, neurons in green.
View image full-size (1151x739 pixels)

Research Focus

Keywords

Stem cells

Organoids

Evolution

Neurodevelopment

Clinical conditions

Autism

Childhood disorders

Genetic disorders

Learning disabilities

Schizophrenia

Equipment

Bioreactors

Calcium imaging

Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

Fluorescence microscopy

Immunohistochemistry

Collaborators

Cambridge

Benjamin Simons

Sanjay Sinha

Associated News Items