Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California, Irvine; Director, UCI ADRC iPS cell core and UCI Stem Cell CRISPR core
Dr. Matt Blurton-Jones is an associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and director of the UCI ADRC iPS cell core and the UCI Stem Cell CRISPR core. His current research utilizes human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and chimeric mouse models to examine the underlying molecular mechanisms that drive the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). His earlier studies were among the first to show that neural stem cells can improve cognitive and motor function in transgenic models of neurodegeneration by elevating levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and enhancing plasticity. His lab also demonstrated that the adaptive immune system restrains the development of AD pathology by modulating microglial activation states. More recently, his group developed one of the leading approaches to differentiate patient-derived iPS cells into microglia (Abud et. al., Neuron, 2017) and generated chimeric models to study human microglial function in vivo (Hasselmann et. al., Neuron, 2019). Ongoing work in the Blurton-Jones lab is now combining iPS cells, CRISPR gene editing, and chimeric modeling to examine the impact of AD-associated genes on human microglial function (McQuade et al., Nat Comm, 2020).