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Department of Neuroscience

Retzius väg 8
SE17177 - Stockholm

+46-8-524 877 91

Job opportunities

Dr Anna Falk
Reprogramming to Model Diseases
The European Neuroscience Institute at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm

Research Area

We are interested in how the correct size and organization of the human brain is established and the role of proper neural stem cell regulation in the process. Studies of human brain development in health and disease have until recently been close to impossible due to lack of relevant tissue to study. We use reprogramming, iPS cells and neural differentiation as tools to derive the relevant cells to study. We are currently studying neurodevelopmental disorders like, Down Syndrome, ASD, monogenetic intellectual disabilities in addition to Alzheimer’s disease. We reprogram patient cells to iPS cells, which we use to derive neural stem cells and neurons for our in vitro studies. We compare patient and control neural stem cells and neurons in processes like proliferation, differentiation, migration, apoptosis, and functionality of neurons. We have detected diseases phenotypes in patient specific neural stem cells and/or neurons of the diseases we thus far have studied. For example, neural stem cells of Down syndrome patients proliferate slower then neural stem cells from healthy people. We are currently studying the molecular background of the slow expansion of the neural progenitor cells.

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5 Selected Publications

Tailor J., Kittappa R., Leto K., Gates M., Borel M., Paulsen O., Spitzer S., Karadottir RT., Rossi F., Falk A., Smith A. (2013) Stem cells expanded from the human embryonic hindbrain stably retain regional specification and high neurogenic potency. J. Neurosci., 33(30) : 12407-22.

Falk R., Falk A., Dyson MR., Melidoni A., Parthiban K., Young J., Roake W., McCafferty J. (2012) Generation of anti-Notch antibodies and their application in blocking Notch signalling in neural stem cells. Methods, 58 (1) : 69-78.

Fujimoto Y., Abematsu M., Falk A., Tsujimura K., Sanosaka T., Juliandi B., Semi K., Namihira M., Komiya S., Smith A., Nakashima K. (2012) Treatment of a mouse model of spinal cord injury by transplantation of human iPS cell-derived long-term self-renewing neuroepithelial-like stem cells. Stem Cells., 30 (6) : 1163-73.

Falk A., Koch P., Kesavan J., Takashima Y., Ladewig J., et al. (2012) Capture of neuroepithelial-like stem cells from pluripotent stem cells provides a versatile system for in vitro production of human neurons. PLoS One, 7 (1) : e29597.

Danovi D., Falk A., Humphreys P., Vickers R., Tinsley J., Smith AG., Pollard SM. (2010) Imaging-based chemical screens using normal and glioma-derived neural stem cells. Biochem Soc Trans., 38 (4) : 1067-71.

Awards, Fellowships and Honours

2012            Assistant Professorship from StratNeuro Network
2010            VINNOVA, Marie Curie international Career Development Fellow
2009            Postdoctoral Fellowship, Swedish Brain Foundation (Hjärnfonden)
2007            Postdoctoral Fellowship,Swedish Research Council (VR)

Technical Expertise
  • Stem cells
  • Disease modeling using reprogramming
  • Neurological disorders
  • Molecular and cellular mechanisms causing diseases phenotypes
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders/ neurodegenerative disorders