Vanessa Jane Hall

Vanessa Jane Hall

Associate Professor

Leader of Group of Brain Development and Disease

The research group of Brain Development and Disease is driven by a fascination of the mind and its matter. The group focuses on the mechanisms involved in neurodevelopment, systemic inflammation, and neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 

We apply methods such as single cell RNA sequencing to understand the cellular diversity of the part of the brain where Alzheimer’s disease first strikes called the entorhinal cortex. Single cell RNA sequencing data has enabled us to develop a novel neuron (brain) cell type from pluripotent stem cells using an approach called direct programming. These cells may provide clues as to why some cells in the brain are more vulnerable to disease than others. Uncovering the cellular diversity of the brain provides extraordinary insight into the complexity of this organ and provides us new evidence for the function and origins of brain diseases.

Our lab is also interested in the importance of the systemic immune environment, especially the gut, its microbiota and infections, and the role these have in the onset of neurodegenerative diseases

 

Current Research Interests: 

  • Modeling Alzheimer's disease in a dish using pluripotent stem cells
  • Determining the origins of Alzheimer's disease
  • Understanding the development and evolution of the brain's spatial navigation.
  • Developing clean meat using animal stem cells

Techniques we perform in the lab

  • Multiomic technology development
  • Single cell RNA sequencing
  • Bioinformatics
  • Microelectrode array and electrophysiological analyses of neurons
  • Pluripotent and neural stem cell culture
  • Histology and Immunohistochemistry
  • MRI on brains

 Current funding sources:

  • DFF/IRFD
  • Novo Nordisk Foundation
  • Lundbeck Foundation
  • Carlsberg Foundation

Funded projects:

Investigating development and evolution of the entorhinal cortex - ground zero for Alzheimer's disease

(Funded by Lundbeck Foundation) 5.000.000 DKK

Development of a novel technology, spatial connectomics (SpaiCon) for broad biological sciences

(Funded by Novo Nordisk Foundation) 5.000.000 DKK

Optimizing production of clean meat using stem cell technology and proteins extracted from animal waste (CleanMeat)

(Funded by DFF) 2.877.135 DKK

 

 

Teaching

Supervision:

PhDs

Main supervisor:

2022-  Dorrotya Ralbovszki/University of Copenhagen

2018-2020 Tobias Bergmann/University of Copenhagen

2017 - 2019 Yong Liu/University of Copenhagen

Co-supervisor:

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
  • Multiomic technologies
  • Clean meat using stem cells

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