The Project - Research Program

The MAGNEURON workplan is organized around seven technical workpackages:

WP2: Preparation of synthetic and recombinant MNPs:

  • This workpackage is focused on the preparation of magnetic nanoparticles, either by synthesis of small aggregates of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles coated by a fluorescent silica shell, or by the use of recombinant ferritin cage.

WP3: Biofunctionalization and intracellular delivery of MNPs:

  • The objective of this workpackage is to develop surface coating and biofunctionalization of MNPs that enable efficient cytoplasmic delivery towards target cells, sustained magnetic control of MNP and signalling activity inside cells.

WP4: Tools for MNP manipulation in single-cell assays:

  • The objectives of this workpackage are as follows:
    • To develop the tools for the manipulation of functional MNPs inside living cells,
    • To implement high-throughput single-cell assays for magnetic manipulation of signalling,
    • To quantitatively measure the sensitivity of the cellular response to magnetically-induced signalling perturbations.

WP5: Biomagnetic control of stem cell differentiation:

  • The main objective is to design optimal binding sites for activation of key intra- and extracellular receptor targets on the Fz receptor to achieve remote-controlled differentiation of DA neurons from precursors.

WP6: Directed fibre outgrowth of neuronal cells:

  • This workpackage aims at establishing the magnetic control of morphological differentiation and oriented outgrowth in neurons derived from neural stem cells or from direct conversion of somatic cells.

WP7: Magnetic manipulation of cellular signalling in organotypic brain slices and in vivo models of Parkinson’s disease:

  • The main objective is the investigation of stem cells or FACS-sorted stem cell-derived precursor neurons, previously manipulated with MNPs, for neuronal differentiation and directed axonal outgrowth following transplantation to rodent organotypic slice cultures of nigrostriatal circuitry, and transplantation in vivo to a rodent model of PD. We will also investigate the ability of MNPs, to protect nigral dopamine neurons in a partial lesion model of PD.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 686841.