Experimental Models

There have been huge developments in model systems and biotechnologies for dementia research. This means that we now have more experimental models than ever, including mice with specific genetic mutations or knock-ins, patient-derived iPSC derived cell cultures and improved sampling of human tissues. Even more recently we have seen the development of complex organoid models of the human brain, multi-species models of specific brain components and even chimeric mouse models, containing live human cells. All these models capture different aspects and time points of disease biology and allow varying extents of control over genetic and environmental experimental intervention. This leaves open the question as to how suitable any given model is to understand specific aspects of human neurodegenerative disease. Secondly, work on model systems is often conducted in isolation with single studies working on a single experimental model system. Employing the data science expertise of the DEMON network, we will tackle the challenge of more integrative analyses across multiple studies and heterogeneous model systems.

Specifically, the experimental models working group aims to address the following questions:
1) How well do existing model systems replicate or represent human disease biology (and which questions can suitably be asked with which models)?
2) How can we go from individual studies using single model systems to knowledge integrated and distilled across studies and models?