U-Share-funded collaboration projects

Five projects have been granted funding in U-Share’s call for applications for collaboration projects. The projects have a PI at either SLU or UU, and a postdoctoral researcher with a PhD from the other university.

De novo establishment of in vitro fish bioassays via CRISPR/Cas9-mediated reporter gene knock-ins for pro- and retrospective environmental toxicity testing

Björn Hellman and Sebastian Lungu-Mitea
Fish are commonly used to test environmental toxicity. This project aims to establish cultured zebrafish cells and in vitro bioanalysis as alternatives to standard toxicity testing in fish. The researchers will use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to create zebra fish cell lines that can be used to assay four toxicity pathways in fish. They will also evaluate how well the cell line bioassay functions as an alternative to testing toxicity in fish embryos or adult fish. The overall goal is to develop a toolbox of cell-based assays with high ecological relevance and with the potential for high-throughput applications.

Amygdala-hippocampus circuit interactions in the production of trigger associated stress responses

Erika Roman and Samer Siwani
In this project the researchers will investigate the mechanisms that drive emotional responses to specific triggers and the formation of such associations in rats. They will use genetic tools and a specific marker of a brain cell population, and perform advanced experimental and behavioural tests. The aim is to reveal how specific parts of the brain influence each other during emotional responses and learning. The findings will increase the understanding of how emotional memory responses are formed, and potentially how they could be altered. In animals, this can improve handling and training and increase animal welfare. For humans, the findings may provide insight into if and how patients with mood disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder can be treated.

A solution for spinal injury: A biomaterial that stabilises injured vertebra and stimulates new bone growth

Odd Höglund and Michael Pujari-Palmer
The goal of this project is to be able to fuse vertebras using only a biomaterial, without the need for fixation or invasive metal implants. The researchers will evaluate two new biomaterials, an osteostimulatory cement and a bone adhesive, that can improve healing of bone tissue and achieve fusion based on the biological and regenerative properties of the material. The findings could be used to develop treatment strategies in cases of spinal weakness or instability, caused by for instance a fracture or arthritis, when a portion of the vertebral disc is removed or replaced and the adjoining vertebral surfaces need to be fused to stabilise the spine.
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AI tools to predict risk of common diseases using genetic data

Åsa Johansson and Hadrien Gourlé
In this project the researchers aim to develop a novel Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool than can enable the identification of individuals with high risk of developing a disease. They will combine AI tools with large-scale sequencing data from a cohort with more than half a million participants. The focus will be on a subset of common diseases, such as osteoporosis and myocardial infarction, where the models can be verified in a clinical setting and for which good preventive treatments are available. With this approach, the researchers hope to develop a new AI tool for disease prediction that goes beyond the ones that are state-of the art today.
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Targeting mast cells and carboxypeptidase A in asthma

Sara Wernersson and Srinivas Akula
The researchers that have joined forces in this project are studying a potential target for new treatments and diagnosis methods for asthma in humans and horses. They are focusing on mast cells, which are involved in allergic reactions, and a protein in these cells called carboxypeptidase A3, or CPA3 in short. To perform functional analyses of CPA3 the researchers need to obtain enough quantities of the pure protein and they are therefore producing recombinant proteins of both human, mouse and horse versions of CPA3. The function of the recombinant proteins is studied in lung tissues related to asthma. In another part of the project, they explore the role of mast cells in asthma in horses.
Read more about the project

Last modified: 2021-12-09