Sorbonne University (SU) is one of the 6 partners of this prestigious FET project “NEUROPA”. SU is involved through the Institut de la Vision with Deniz Dalkara as leader of one of the Work Packages, especially dedicated to the development of Adeno-associated viral (AAV) delivery system to get the phytochromes across the Brain-blood barrier.
SU as well as the Institut de la Vision are involved in numerous European and International partnership agreements and scientific projects. This university has France's largest scientific library and infrastructures bringing together the best talent in a wide array of these disciplines and is a major player in international knowledge and innovation economy, offering transversal academic and research programs.
Dr Deniz Dalkara is a Team Leader at the Institut de la Vision, having extensive experience in designing AAV vectors for gene therapy using state-of-the art bioengineering techniques such as the ‘directed evolution’ method. Her team designs and applies viral vectors for investigative neurosciences and gene therapy for inherited retinal degenerations. Her skills include targeted delivery of optogenetic tools for vision restoration as well as development of delivery strategies for other innovative gene therapeutic approaches.
In this project, Dr. Dalkara and her team will evaluate the expression of phytochromes after intravenous administration of AAV in the brains of mice. Since intravenous administration is likely to be problematic for human application, they will concurrently focus their efforts on engineering new AAVs using a pre-established ‘directed evolution’ method to select a capsid with the desired properties. The AAV capsid thus developed can be administered intranasally for non-invasive access to the brain. The AAV technologies developed in this project will be adaptable to various biomedical applications, from anatomical and functional mapping to gene expression, silencing and editing.