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Dr Mootaz Salman has been awarded the MRC Career Development Fellowship.

Dr Mootaz Salman smiling

We are happy to announce that Dr Mootaz Salman has been awarded the highly prestigious and very competitive Medical Research Council (MRC) Career Development Fellowship. This 5-year award of more than £1,525,000 will support the Salman Group in their continued efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying blood-brain barrier (dys)function in neurodegenerative diseases.

This Fellowship will allow him and his group to develop dynamic 3D microphysiological ‘brain-on-a-chip' and brain organoids that mimic the relevant physiology and functionality of the human brain using patient-derived stem cells, gene editing (such as CRISPR-Cas 9) and innovative self-designed tools including organ-on-a-chip technologies.

Dr Salman said, “Dementia is a multifactorial and heterogeneous condition and leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Our work aims to answer the question: how does inflammation-mediated blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction lead to the development of neurodegeneration and dementia? Increasing evidence supports the involvement of BBB dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's; it is evident that this dysfunction happens even before the onset of dementia. In-depth understanding of the cell-cell interactions and signalling pathways between the core elements of the BBB will help in defining therapeutic targets for the prevention of dementia”.

“Overall, our work aims to identify and validate new drug targets and signalling pathways involved in inflammation-mediated BBB dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. We will develop a new, physiologically realistic in vitro models of the BBB incorporating mechanobiological factors known to be implicated in neurodegeneration pathology, such as blood pressure, using human primary and iPSC-derived cells that are directly relevant to human disease”.

On receipt of his award, Dr Salman said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive this award, which represents a major milestone in my independent career. It’s pivotal to further establish my group. I am looking forward to closely working with my fantastic colleagues within DPAG and the Kavli Institute and 5 years of exciting science”.

He also said: “Despite the fact this is a personal award, it’s such a team effort. I am grateful for all the wonderful professors who inspired me and led by example in my early years, as well as all the amazing colleagues and my group members over the years, and others who I have been privileged to teach, collaborate with, and hopefully inspire”.