Erika Sasaki - Generation and Evaluation of Alzheimer's Disease Nonhuman Primate Models

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Thursday, February 16, 2023
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12:00pm to 1:00pm PST
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Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
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Join us at Gunn Rotunda in the Stanford Neurosciences Building to learn about the latest cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond

Wu Tsai Neuro's weekly seminar series is back to being held in-person since Fall 2022. Masking is strongly encouraged for the health and safety of our community Join the speaker for coffee, cookies, and conversation after the talk

Generation and Evaluation of Alzheimer's Disease Nonhuman Primate Models


The common marmoset (marmoset, Callithrix jacchus), a small non-human primate, offers excellent models for preclinical research because of their similarities in genetics, metabolism, and physiological characteristics to humans. The marmoset is suitable for producing genetic modification (GM) models because of its unique reproductive characteristics, such as multiple ovulations, short sexual maturity, and relatively short gestation period.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia worldwide. The AD research field has mainly utilized mouse models for decades, but species differences between rodents and primates may constrain us from understanding the precise disease mechanisms. For this reason, we have attempted to establish AD NHP models using gene editing techniques, Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nuclease (TALEN), and Base Editor to introduce familial AD-causing mutations into the presenilin 1 gene (PSEN1). Using these gene editing techniques, we have developed 2 AD model marmosets, PSEN1-ΔE9, which lack the exon9 of the PSEN1 and PSEN1-P117L marmosets.

These animals showed an elevation of the Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio and uncleaved full-length PS1 protein and N- and C-terminal fragments of PS1 protein in the fibroblasts. Currently, we are developing an automated behavioral analysis system for analyzing these marmosets to reveal dementia-like behavior. The present talk will outline current attempts to evaluate the PSEN1 mutant marmosets as Alzheimer's models.

Erika Sasaki

Central Institute for Experimental Animals, Japan

(Visit lab website)

Dr. Erika Sasaki is a Director of the Department of marmoset biology and medicine Central Institute for Experimental Animals (CIEA), a Senior Visiting Scientist at RIKEN Brain Science Institute (Center for Brain Science), and a Project Professor at Advanced Research Center, Keio University of Japan, and Contract consultant at the Reproductive Biology and Genetics core, at National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

She is an internationally recognized reproductive and development biologist with over 25 years of experience. Currently, her research focuses on establishing genetically modified non-human primate (NHP) common marmosets as human disease models. She is one of the top experts in NHP reproductive and developmental biology. Her current research focuses on establishing genetically modified human disease models using marmosets, and Erika generated the world's first transgenic marmosets with germline transmission in 2009. She recently introduced genome editing technologies in marmosets and successfully developed immune-deficient marmosets and Alzheimer's model marmosets. For scientific interests, she is also studying early embryonic development and gametogenesis in marmosets to understand the difference between rodents' and primates' early development.

Erika has an extensive record of publications, invited lectures, and service activities. Erika has received several awards for her expertise and achievement in this area, including the Prize for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology and the Andoh-Tajima Award of the Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science. She is an organizing committee member of Japan Society for Marmoset Research.

Hosted by - Karen Parker & Alexander Urban 

About the Wu Tsai Neuro Seminar Series

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute seminar series brings together the Stanford neuroscience community to discuss cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond.

Topics include new discoveries in fundamental neurobiology; advances in human and translational neuroscience; insights from computational and theoretical neuroscience; and the development of novel research technologies and neuro-engineering breakthroughs.

Unless otherwise noted, seminars are held Thursdays at 12:00 noon PT.

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