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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research
Skills and Knowledge Transfer grant

Cerebral organoid models for optical investigation of neural circuit dynamics in neurodegenerative diseases

A photograph of Professor Simon Schultz

At a glance

In progress
Award date
July 2021 - June 2023
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Professor Simon Schultz
Imperial College London


  • Replacement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR



Why did we fund this project?

This award aims to replace neuroimaging studies in mice by using multiphoton calcium imaging to characterise neural circuits in cerebral organoids.

Brain recordings can be taken in vivo to better understand how accumulation of tau and amyloid beta affects patients in Alzheimer’s disease. Studies are typically done in mice and require surgery and other associated invasive procedures that can cause pain, suffering and distress. Professor Simon Schultz aims to replace some in vivo neuroimaging research in his laboratory by combining cerebral organoids developed by Dr Madeline Lancaster’s and Professor Selena Wray’s research groups.

Madeline has developed in vitro organoids derived from human iPSCs to study brain development and disorders. Selena has used cerebral organoids to develop an in vitro method of tau development to replicate aspects of Alzheimer’s disease in vitro. Simon will use these established protocols and characterise neural circuits using multiphoton calcium imaging to determine how these are affected by altered tau pathology. This will demonstrate further utility of cerebral organoids and their potential to replace neuroimaging in mice.