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Sarka  Lehtonen

Sarka Lehtonen

Research Director

I lead the Human Brain Disease Modelling research lab at the A.I.Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences where I work as a Research Director.
Adjunct Prof. in NeuroPharmacology

A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences

sarka.lehtonen@uef.fi

My focus in recent years has been to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurological diseases, especially Parkinson`s disease, schizophrenia and psychopathy. We use patient-derived brain cells in 2D and 3D culture systems to mimic the pathological conditions in the diseased brain more accurately. We also center our efforts on discovering new drug targets and biomarkers for the studied diseases. As the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the ability of drugs to cross the BBB and reach the correct target is critical when designing drugs for neurological diseases, our third aim is to establish a simple model that mimics the physiological architecture and the barrier properties of the BBB. Once created, the ability of novel drugs and biomolecules like extracellular vesicles to penetrate the BBB can be tested. The model can also be used to understand the molecular and transport mechanisms that regulate BBB permeability in physiological and pathological conditions. Gained knowledge and novel discoveries will open in the future new opportunities for therapeutic developments.

For more information, please visit our research group website:        https://sites.uef.fi/human-brain-disease-modelling-group/

Publications

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