Siddharthan Chandran

Professor Siddharthan Chandran is the MacDonald Chair of Neurology at The University of Edinburgh. Siddharthan is the Director of the MS Society Centre for MS Research, the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, all at The University of Edinburgh. He is also a Consultant Neurologist in Edinburgh.

Human stem cells offer great promise not only for increasing our understanding of the causes of neurodegenerative and developmental disorders but also for drug discovery. Our research goal is to develop new treatments for patients with these conditions.

The ability to examine brain cells in a dish has greatly expanded our knowledge on how synapses form. With the development of human stem cell technologies, the neuronal superhighway can now be studied using human neurons that have been generated from stem cells. This picture, taken with a fluorescent microscope, shows neurons (in purple) derived from human embryonic stem cells.

We have developed a series of research methods to convert embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells into a range of functional nerve cells and supporting cells. The strength of this technique is that it allows us to convert patient skin cells from a donated biopsy into nerve cells that can be grown and studied in the lab.

This way of modelling disease in a dish can apply equally to any neurological condition, both developmental – such as in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability or psychiatric illness – and degenerative, for instance in multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease.

Using this powerful platform we investigate the causes and consequences of neurological conditions including ASDs and test potential new drug treatments.

Patrick Wild Centre investigators working with counterparts in the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research and the Centre for Regenerative Medicine use neuronal and glial cell lines, primary cells and differentiated stem cells in culture to search for clues as to the cell types, molecular mechanisms and biochemical pathways that lead to neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.


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