Léa Wenger

Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Astrocytes in the brain work like supportive parents to the nerve cells. In neurodegeneration and injury, they can either help nerve cells recover and survive or instead actively participate in the pathology. We do not know very well yet whether specific subtypes of astrocytes may be more involved in the protective or the harmful responses to disease, partly due to the lack of human platforms to look at the diversity in this population. As part of my PhD in clinical neurosciences, I have used human embryonic stem cell-derived organoids, or ‘mini-brains’, to study how different astrocyte subtypes may be actively involved in disease. I have identified a population enriched in many models of injury and am working towards targeting it specifically, to develop new avenues for drug development against neurodegenerative diseases.

Other 2021 award winners

Karsten Bach

Lydia Collas

Benjamin Droguet

Tiarnan Doherty

Anujan Poologaindran

Zhaozhi Qian

Andrew Russell

Pedro Vianez

Michael Whitehead

Previous award winners

Find out about the winners awarded in previous years: