Université de Strasbourg

Silk nano-fibres and neuronal regeneration

Biofunctionalized silk-nanofibers promote neuronal regeneration

USIAS Fellow: Michael Reber

Brain injuries, consecutive to a trauma or neurodegenerative diseases, lead to irreversible neuron loss and subsequent functional impairments. Stimulating neuron regeneration within the brain has been a major challenge for basic neuroscience and regenerative medicine. Nanotechnology is one of the strategies used to promote neuron regeneration, however, the next challenge is to control proper re-wiring of the brain to fully restore functional connections.

This multidisciplinary project, combining the knowledge from neurobiology (axon guidance molecules), nanotechnology (silk nanofibers) and mathematics (the Relative Signalling Model of neural map formation), seeks to develop an innovative tool, biofunctionalized silk nanofibers, to efficiently predict, stimulate and control neuronal rewiring of the injured brain. Our biological model, the optic nerve, transfers visual information from the retina to several brain areas. Injuries of the optic nerve often lead to impairment or loss of vision. We previously designed an algorithm predicting visual map formation in the brain and, in parallel, demonstrated that silk nanofibers carrying trophic factors are able to promote retinal neuron regeneration. We now want to combine both approaches to develop biofunctionalized silk nanofibers as a tool to predict and control retinal neuron regeneration and targeting. This project will certainly impact the technological innovation for biomedical research and therapeutic perspectives.

France 2030