Dr Rick Livesey
Human stem cell models of dementia
Department of Biochemistry
Rick Livesey did his preclinical medical studies in Cork, Ireland before joining the MB/PhD programme at the University of Cambridge Clinical School. He did his PhD at the MRC LMB in Steve Hunt's group and post-doctoral work with Connie Cepko at the Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School.
Rick started his group at the Gurdon Institute in September 2001. He is currently a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator.
A major interest of the group is the use of stem cell-based models of Alzheimer’s disease to study the initiation and pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in dementia. Developing these models depends on our fundamental research in stem cell biology and neuroscience, together with associated technologies, such as genome engineering and imaging. This background enables us to generate in vitro cortical neural networks and to carry out functional studies of Alzheimer’s disease biology.
A challenge for modelling Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and developing therapies based on those models, is our incomplete understanding of the cell and molecular biology underlying the initiation and progression of the disease. Animal models continue to be critical to understanding the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is clear that no animal model completely recapitulates AD and there is an ongoing need for tractable systems for studying AD pathogenesis both in vitro and in vivo.
Building on our previous work using human ES and iPS cells to model Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis in Down syndrome, we are carrying out functional studies of AD initiation and progression in human stem cell models, using genetic forms of dementia and AD.