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Mootaz Salman has won, (together with Professor Roslyn Bill of Aston University) a grant from the BBSRC to study mechanisms involved in brain waste clearance using organ-on-chip technology.

Dr Mootaz Salman smiling
Mootaz Salman, a Group Leader and MRC Career Development Fellow at DPAG

The new project focuses on building a novel gliovascular interface on chip to study the molecular mechanisms of brain waste clearance.

Throughout the day, the human brain accumulates waste products that are removed at night. Understanding the process of brain waste removal is critical because its long-term build-up leads to neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

The effectiveness of brain waste clearance depends upon a water channel protein, called aquaporin-4 (AQP4), which facilitates the flow of water into and out of astrocytes.

During sleep, when waste clearance is most effective, a drop in baseline blood pressure allows the walls of blood vessels to pulse. Research has shown that the movement of AQP4 to and from the astrocyte endfoot surface controls endfoot water permeability and that AQP4 movement.

Dr Salman comments, ‘To test our ideas, we will use a novel “organ-on-a-chip” – an experimental system designed by the Salman Group that emulates the 3D interaction between human astrocytes and blood vessels.

He continues, ‘It is an absolute honour to receive this prestigious award from the BBSRC and am excited to start this exciting project together with Professor Roslyn Bill’.