Amanda Ward, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT
This image was taken to determine if the cells obtained by in vitro differentiation of embryonic stem cells expressed markers of neurons. Because neurons can be identified in these cultures, they can now be used to study how genes are regulated in neurons.
Genomic imprinting is a cellular process that results in differential regulation of genes inhereited either from the mother or father. These neurons are being used to understand how long non-coding RNAs regulate genomic imprinting in the brain, and to develop novel therapeutic treatment for imprinted disorders such as Angelman syndrome.