Bridging Engineering and Neuroscience in the Creation of Artificial Axons for Myelination Research: Krystyn J. Van Vliet, PhD & Anna Jagielska, PhD, MSc


The professor of materials science and engineering at Cornell University and chief executive officer at Artificial Axon Labs talked about the development of artificial axons through 3D printing. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

"In our opinion, based on years of research, we want the community to understand that mechanosensitivity of neural cells is a critically important part of the life of the cells and needs to be taken into account when we study these cells."

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease driven by damage to the protective myelin sheath. Remyelination, which is the regenerative process of myelin repair by oligodendrocytes, is impaired in patients with MS. According to research published in Scientific Reports, one of the reasons for the struggle to find remyelinating treatments that demonstrate efficacy is the lack of biomimetic drug screening platforms that allow quantification of compounds' possibly to stimulate 3D myelination in a physiologically relevant axon-like environment.1

Recently, Krystyn J. Van Vliet, PhD, professor of materials science and engineering at Cornell University, presented a talk on “Engineering 3D Platforms to Overcome Barriers of Drug Discovery for MS” in a session at the 2024 Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum, February 29 to March 2. The session was focused on barriers to neural repair with additional speakers such as Jeffrey Huang, PhD, who presented on “Immune Barriers to Remyelination”, and Jenn Orthmann-Murphy, MD, PhD, who talked about “Next Generation Animal Models for Studying Remyelination in MS”.

Van Vliet and Anna Jagielska, PhD, MSc, founder and chief executive officer at Artificial Axon Labs, recently sat down with NeurologyLive® after the forum to discuss how artificial axons can bridge the gap between engineering and neuroscience research. The duo also spoke about the reason why understanding the mechanosensitivity of neurons is important for studying myelination processes. Additionally, the experts talked about challenges that some researchers face in creating experimental platforms to mimic neuronal environments accurately.

Click here for more coverage of ACTRIMS 2024.

1. Jagielska A, Radzwill K, Espinosa-Hoyos D, et al. Artificial axons as a biomimetic 3D myelination platform for the discovery and validation of promyelinating compounds. Sci Rep. 2023;13(1):19529. Published 2023 Nov 9. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-44675-6
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