Disorders of the central nervous system are one of the grand health challenges of this century. Therapeutic development, however, remains limited by our poor understanding of the brain, including of the neurovascular unit (NVU) – the gatekeeper between blood and brain for metabolites, disease agents, as well as drugs. A major factor for these shortcomings lies in the wide-spread reliance on animals or simple cell models that recapitulate neither the cellular ensemble nor the environment of the human NVU.

Our group is pursuing a number of complementary approaches to develop more in-vivo-like model systems and deepen our understanding of the NVU and its barrier function: