Naya Tadavarthy | September 11, 2020
Biologist Christopher Patzke joined the Notre Dame faculty in August, and he is ready to get into the lab and start his neurobiology research.
“What I’m really excited about is that this will be the first time I have my own lab,” said Patzke, the John M. and Mary Jo Boler Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare & Neglected Diseases. “Now, for the first time, I can do whatever I want. I can have my own team...so I can spend 24/7 in the lab with my colleagues there,” he joked.
Patzke studies the genetic makeup of the human brain at the cellular level. By examining both healthy and unhealthy neurons, for instance, he can investigate mutations that lead to brain disorders, like autism, epilepsy, or neurodegenerative diseases.
In his lab, Patzke uses a number of advanced techniques to create models of brain cells, including converting induced pluripotent stem cells into neurons. Through this method, researchers can study a person’s brain using just a blood sample. Patzke has even experimented with “mini-brains” or organoids, which are about the size of a pea and show how cells work together, on a very small scale.
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