Professor Charles ffrench – Constant, University of Edinburgh / Professor Eli  Keshet, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

There is an urgent need for regenerative therapies to treat diseases of the brain. A failure to generate sufficient new nerve cells (neurons) to replace those lost in different brain injuries results in long-term disability or cognitive impairment. Increasing the capacity of the adult brain to form new neurons is a major goal in regenerative medicine. 

Evidence suggests that blood vessels associated with neural stem cells in the brain are vital to their development and function. This study, by the ffrench-Constant (University of Edinburgh) and Keshet (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) labs, examines the possibility of increasing nerve cell formation in particular brain areas via enhanced blood vessel formation, taking advantage of a unique ability to expand the ‘vascular niche’. The power of this approach is shown by the remarkable finding that nerve cell formation can dramatically increase in the elderly through rejuvenation of blood vessels.

About the Researchers

Professor Charles ffrench – Constant

Professor of Medical Neurology, MRC Centre for Regenerative medicine, University of Edinburgh

Professor ffrench – Constant clinically trained in neurogenetics and completed a PhD (UCL) and postdoc (MIT) in neuroscience and developmental biology. He focused on regenerative neuroscience, myelination and stem cells in Cambridge from 1991- 2007 (Professor from 2000), and moved to Edinburgh to direct the MRC Centre in Regenerative Medicine in 2008.

Professor Eli Keshet

Professor of Molecular Biology, Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Professor Keshet trained as retrovirologist and initially engaged in study of cancer-causing viruses. From 1991 and onward dedicated to vascular biology and angiogenesis research, Professor Keshet has been focusing on VEGF biology and on diverse roles of the vasculature in organ homeostasis and regeneration.