Vanessa Jane Hall

Vanessa Jane Hall

Associate Professor

Leader of Group of Brain Development and Disease

Using STEM CELLs to model the Brain’s Role in Aging and Involvement in Neurodegeneration

Current Research Interests: 

  • Characterization of the entorhinal cortex in the developing and adult brain (pig and human)
  • Derivation of stellate cells from pluripotent stem cells for studying Alzheimer's disease
  • Modeling migraine in a dish using pluripotent stem cells
  • Comparative evolution of spatial navigation in different species.

Techniques we perform in the lab

  • Clearing of large tissue samples
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Single cell RNA sequencing
  • Microelectrode array analyses of neurons
  • Pluripotent and neural stem cell culture
  • Histology and Immunohistochemistry

 Current funding sources:

  • Danish Research Council (Technology and Production): 2.591 million dKK
  • Innovation Fund Denmark (


Stellate cell project 

We are particularly interested in the role of the entorhinal cortex in Alzheimer’s disease and why it is one of the first regions of the brain that is affected by the disease. In this project, we have performed detailed investigation of the anatomical and molecular make-up of the entorhinal cortex using the developing pig brain and are using state-of-the-art single-cell RNA sequencing technology to discover more details on the stellate cell located in the entorhinal cortex and its role in the disease. The aim is to produce a stellate cell in the dish from human induced pluripotent stem cells and study why it is particularly susceptible in Alzheimer’s disease. 

The research is currently in preprint form:

Funded by Innovation Foundation (Brainstem) and The Danish Council for Independent Research: Technology and Production


Previously funded Research Project 2010-2014: 

Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells from the APPsw biomedical pig.

Objective of the Project:

The major objective was to produce porcine neural stem cells from wildtype and APPsw transgenic pigs and differentiate these into neurons. The APPsw pig, was produced by Aarhus University and carries a human mutant gene which leads to a juvenile onset of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. The wildtype iPSC-derived neural cells could be used for future transplantations into the Alzheimer’s pig brain and neural cells derived from Alzheimer biomedical pig will be studied in-vitro to investigate the etiology of the disease.

Official Title:

Porcine induced pluripotent stem cells – Generation of in-vitro models and therapeutic neurons for the Alzheimer’s biomedical pig.

Funded by:

Det Frie Forskningsråd: Teknologi og Produktion

The Danish Research Council for Technology and Production Sciences

Fund Total:

3,347,880 DKK





Main supervisor:

2018-2020 Tobias Bergmann/University of Copenhagen

2017 - 2019 Yong Liu/University of Copenhagen


2014 – 2015 Carlota Pires/University of Copenhagen, Denmark

2011 – 2015 Dong Li: Submitted September 2015/University of Copenhagen, Denmark

2008 – 2011 Yu Gao/Uni of Copenhagen, Denmark: Now a postdoc at University of Wisconsin-Madison

2007 – 2010 Mikkel Rasmussen/Uni of Copenhagen, Denmark Now a postdoc at Bioneer A/S, Denmark developing iPSCs from patients.

Masters and Bachelors

Acted as main supervisor for several masters and bachelor students

Fields of interest

  • Induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Entorhinal cortex
  • Neural development
  • Single cell RNA sequencing
  • Tissue clearing

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