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Axonal regeneration, plasticity & stem cells (AXREGEN)
Start date: Sep 1, 2008, End date: Aug 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This is a multi-disciplinary training programme focussed on the experimental and clinical problems associated with axonal damage and repair in the central nervous system. This is a central feature of a wide variety of disorders of the CNS. Future advances in this area depend on training a cohort of young researches with multiple skills. The programme encompasses ten academic and two commercial organisations. Each student will be trained in a variety of theoretical and technical approaches, based on the complementary expertise of the collaborating partners. In addition, there will be a strong emphasis on the commercial exploitation and development of potential new therapies. The individual projects are strongly cross-disciplinary, and a series of workshops, seminars and online tutorials will ensure the collective resources of each participant being available to each student. These will foster a sense of collegiality amongst the students themselves, and knowledge of the work going on in the labs of the consortium. The programme will have a common organisation strategy, with a balance between control by the coordinators and delegation to individual laboratories. The topics themselves range from studies on the molecular biology of gene expression during axonal damage and regeneration, through cellular approaches for rescuing axons, artificial systems for growing and studying axons in vitro, the use of stem cells as regenerative procedures, advanced imaging techniques for assessing axonal integrity, studies on ways to alter axonal plasticity, pharmacological approaches to preventing or restoring axonal damage, new surgical and experimental methods for studying axonal structure and function, tests of recovery (including both physiological and behavioural techniques) and the contribution of axonal malfunction to animal models of specific diseases. Students will also be taught the avenues available for commercial exploitation of experimental findings.

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