Killam Seminar Series: The heterogeneity of astrocyte responses in CNS inflammation

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 16:00to17:00
Montreal Neurological Institute De Grandpré Communications Centre, 3801 rue University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, CA

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Michael Wheeler

Assistant Professor, Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, Dept. of Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA

Abstract: In neurologic diseases, deciphering the mechanisms underlying intercellular cross-talk may inform disease pathogenesis. For example, in multiple sclerosis, a disease of the immune and nervous systems, multiple cell types regulate CNS inflammation including astrocytes—abundant CNS-resident glial cells that play multifaceted roles. Hence, identifying subsets of astrocytes, their regulation, and their cell-cell interactions may lead to new therapies, but many mechanisms remain unknown.

To address these questions, I analyzed multiple astrocyte subsets that play pathogenic or protective roles in CNS inflammation as well as multiple inputs that regulate disease-associated astrocyte subsets including environmental pollutants and commensal microbiotic signals. Finally, I recently developed three separate tools, called RABID-seq, FIND-seq, and SPEACC-seq, that enable the high throughput single-cell characterization of astrocyte interactions among molecularly defined subsets, which led to new insights for therapeutic intervention. Together, these studies focused on CNS inflammation uncovered multiple astrocyte subsets, the regulation of their networks, and present new tools for their investigation.

Bio: Dr. Wheeler is an Assistant Professor in the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases in the Department of Neurology of Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia. He trained as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow with Francisco Quintana at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital focused on the role of neuroimmune cross-talk controlled by glial cells in multiple sclerosis and other neurologic disorders. He established his lab in December 2022, and develops novel genomic tools for the investigation of neuroimmune cross-talk in the regulation of behavior and mood disorders.

Supported by the generosity of the Killam Trusts, the MNI's Killam Seminar Series invites outstanding guest speakers whose research is of interest to the scientific community at the MNI and McGill University.

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.




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