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Congratulations are in order for Departmental Research Lecturer Dr Mootaz Salman who has been awarded a prestigious Early Career Fellowship funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Mootaz Salman profileDr Mootaz Salman has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship - a highly prestigious, fiercely competitive research award with just 145 awards available nationally this year across all disciplines. These fellowships enable early career academics to undertake a significant piece of publishable work.

Dr Salman is now pursuing a 3-year research project entitled “Targeting mechanisms of blood-brain barrier dysfunction in Parkinson’s using humanized 3D brain-on-a-chip models”, on which he will work independently within DPAG in close collaboration with the Wade-Martins Group.

Dr Salman intends to target the blood–brain barrier (BBB), which tightly regulates the brain microenvironment, and is known to be instrumental in the progression of Parkinson’s. The fellowship will allow him to develop an innovative dynamic 3D multicellular in vitro model to accurately recapitulate the BBB under Parkinson’s-associated inflammatory conditions using human-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Dr Salman said: “This model will allow the incorporation of blood flow under different pressures to accurately model hypertension, which is a major risk factor for dementia. I will use this system to define the mechanisms involved in BBB leakiness and identify new drug targets for early intervention in neurodegeneration.”

“I am honoured to receive this generous funding from the Leverhulme Trust to investigate an important area of research in which the aggregate societal cost of which is £3.3 billion/year in the UK, with a total annual economic burden of £20,000 per household. Parkinson’s is currently an incurable condition and the precise mechanism underlying its pathophysiology is not fully understood. Targeting the BBB is an exciting approach which might help in preventing the disease or slowing its onset significantly”.

“My ultimate aim is to reduce the burden to relatives, care providers and the NHS, and more importantly alleviate everyday suffering in patients.”

More information about the fellowship can be found on the Leverhulme Trust website.