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The Neuroinflammation group, led by Professor Michael Heneka, is involved in fundamental and translational research with a focus on neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation.

Neuroinflammation is a hallmark of diseases such as Alzheimer’s (AD). AD is characterised by the accumulation of extracellular amyloid-beta (Aβ) in amyloid plaques and intracellular tau in neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). The activation of the innate immune cells of the brain, called microglia, seems to be involved in the development and progression of the disease. It is also known to play a role in other neurodegenerative diseases. To date, the underlying mechanisms in the transition of an initially protective to a chronic and harmful neuroinflammatory response are unknown.

The group aims at understanding molecular mechanisms of inflammatory regulation in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s), using novel preclinical mouse models and state-of-the-art techniques like two-photon imaging, transcriptome analysis and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).  The group also studies the cellular interactions between microglia, neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes through tunnelling nanotubes. From a translational perspective, the goal of the group is to develop new biomarkers and insights into medical interventions around various aspects of neuroinflammation involved in neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases.