Dr. Anthony Vernon

Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, King’s College London

Title: Application of hiPSC microglia for psychiatric and neurological disease modelling

Abstract: Using microglia and neurons differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC), we seek to understand how genetic risk for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders impacts on human microglia form and function. Specifically, we study rare highly penetrant copy number variants (e.g. 22q11.2 deletions); disease associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (e.g. Q331K in TARDBP7 and P522R in PLCG2) using CRISPR/Cas9 engineering and polygenic risk associated with diagnosis of schizophrenia. To facilitate this we have developed models of neuron-microglia and microglia-synapse interactions in the context of brain development and disease. This includes 2D co-cultures and 3D organoid systems, for which we have also developed optical clearing and light sheet imaging methods to visualize neurodevelopmental processes in 3D.

Key recent publications: Warre-Cornish et al. Science Advances, 2020; Adhya et al. Molecular Autism, 2021

About the Speaker: Dr Anthony Vernon trained in Biochemistry (BSc) and Neuropharmacology (PhD) at Imperial College London, followed by post-doctoral fellowships with Dr Michel Modo and Professor Shitij Kapur at the Institute of Psychiatry (IOP), King’s College London (KCL). Dr Vernon was appointed to the IOP faculty in 2013 and is now a Reader in Neuropsychopharmacology at the Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience at the IOP. Dr Vernon is also a Group Leader and PhD training co-ordinator at the MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, King’s College London.