Our centre is located within the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute which was opened in 2015. The institute is home to the Wohl Cellular Imaging Centre (WCIC), the world’s only Nikon Centre of Excellence in Advanced Neuroscience Imaging. The recent acquisition of an N-STORM microscope that can simultaneously measure the movement of two single molecules at high speed with super-resolution has enabled ground-breaking analyses of disease-related RNA-binding protein transport across individual nuclear pores.
Our centre also houses a new neurophysiology suite with two multiphoton microscopes, providing a new understanding of how neurons communicate through healthy synapses and how damages to synapse lead to dementia. With on-site world-class state-of-the-art imaging facilities, we have established cutting-edge technologies to examine key genes and proteins causing neurodegeneration.
FUS granules from the cell body of a CA1 hippocampal neuron. Mutations in FUS protein can cause Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and the ability to detect and measure FUS movement within neuron is important. We induced live cells using optical-photo stimulation and measured granule movement using a NIKON Spinning Disk microscope.
Our centre also has unrivalled access to tissues in the Brain Bank (>3,000 cases) and an ALS cell line bank (disease-specific blood cell lines from 1,200 patients and 400 controls). Only by addressing the issues we see in these patients can we develop appropriate therapy or cure for dementia.
In 2019, we established an AAV Core Facility within our centre to make the most of our gene therapy expertise and expedite research progress. AAV technology is catalysing a shift in the UK DRI mentality from pure discovery for its own sake to exploiting this knowledge to engineer novel therapeutics. To date, we have produced AAV for our UK DRI collaborators in Cardiff, UCL and Edinburgh.