When nerves are injured in mammals, cells and proteins rally together to try and repair the damage. Dr Simona Parrinello here explains how Schwann cells (shown in green), which insulate the nerve axon, respond to a broken nerve by providing a ‘scaffolding’ for replacement cells. Stores for renewal exist throughout the body as stem cells. In order to replace damaged tissue, stem cells need to be able to ‘talk’ to their neighbours. Simona’s research team aims to understand cell-cell communication in tissue repair and cancer. Data from real experiments are fed into computer programs to model the behaviour of molecules involved in nerve repair. These models, developed jointly with neurotechnologists, can be used to explore ways to improve regenerative medicine.
Written by Brona McVittie
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