MxW Customer Testimonial with Dr. Maria Sundberg
Sahin Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Neurology Department, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Mustafa Sahin
“With MaxLab Live Software we analyze the neuronal network firing rates, network bursting phenotypes, and perform axon tracking for analyses of the neuronal branches and their functionality at single cell level.”
Dr. Maria Sundberg and MaxTwo Multi-Well HD-MEA System at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, 2023
Recently we interviewed Dr. Maria Sundberg at the Neurology Department, Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, where we captured Dr. Sundberg in the lab using our MaxTwo Multi-Well HD-MEA System. We also took the opportunity to discuss with Dr. Sundberg her research and how our products play a key role in this project.
Could you please summarize your research for us?
We investigate how a deletion of the 16p11.2 gene region alters cortical neuron development and function in human neuronal networks. Clinically, copy number variations of the 16p11.2 gene region are associated with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, deficits in social communication and delays in speech development.
To study the cortical network formation and function, we have developed functional neural networks from human iPSCs (induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) using NGN2 and ASCL1/DLX2-transcription factors, which can be used to make glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons, respectively. We have also differentiated these iPSCs into dopaminergic neurons. To identify the molecular pathways that are causing the disease phenotypes in these neurons we have studied their network functions on Microelectrode Array Technology (MEA), gene expression profiles with RNA sequencing, and synaptic marker expression profiles using immunocytochemical assays.
In the future, our aim is to optimize the CMOS MEA recordings for functional drug screening studies to develop new translational treatment options for the 16p11.2 CNV-related disorders.
Can you explain how you are using MaxWell Biosystems products for your research?
We characterize the human iPSC-derived neuronal networks on High-Density CMOS MEA platforms in co-cultures with human astrocytes. With MaxLab Live Software we analyze the neuronal network firing rates, network bursting phenotypes, and perform axon tracking for analyses of the neuronal branches and their functionality at single cell level.
Which feature of our products do you appreciate the most?
Currently, we use the MaxTwo Multi-Well HD-MEA System with the 6-well plate format. Compared to the MaxOne HD-MEA System that allows recording from one chip at the time, the multi-well platform allows us to record from several wells/conditions at the same time. This is helpful when comparing the network function between control and patient cell populations, and also when comparing drug treated vs vehicle treated neuronal networks functionality at the same time.
Also the high density of the sensors in the CMOS chip enables us to record in detail the network functionality, and perform axon tracking at the single cell level, and measure firing rate, amplitude and neurite branching properties of the single cells.
Have there been any challenges and how did MaxWell Biosystems help to resolve them?
In the beginning, we had challenges on the cell plating to the MEA, when we were testing different substrates on plate coatings and cell concentrations of neurons per chip. We have always received help from MaxWell Biosystems in a timely manner, and we have also received in hand training for using of the platform and for preparing of the plates for the recordings.
Maria Sundberg received her Ph.D in 2011 from the University of Tampere in Finland where she studied neural differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and developed methods to derive oligodendrocytes in vitro. Subsequently, she completed her post-doctoral training at the Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital’s Neurology Department, in professor Mustafa Sahin’s lab. Currently, she works as a scientist in the Sahin-lab where she is leading several projects focused on phenotyping human neurons. The aim of these projects is to study various neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders and to develop drug screening assays on CMOS-based HD-MEAs.
We would very much like to thank Dr. Maria Sundberg for making time in her busy schedule to take part in this testimonial for us. We are very appreciative of this collaboration.
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Sundberg’s work with our HD-MEA systems, watch her presentation from our 2022 User Meeting.