Of Rising ScholarsFall 2022

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Akhil Rajidi's cover illustration
Polygence Scholar2022
Akhil Rajidi's profile

Akhil Rajidi

Dublin High SchoolClass of 2023Dublin, CA


Hello! My name is Akhil Rajidi and my project that I am working on with Polygence is the study of microglia in different neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, I am looking into how microglia may contribute to the pathology of different diseases through different genes and signalling pathways. I am also studying areas in microglia research which may be a target for further exploration to develop a possible therapy.


  • "Which genes are altered in microglia in neurodegenerative diseases compared to homeostasis?" with mentor Kevin (Aug. 31, 2022)

Project Portfolio

Which genes are altered in microglia in neurodegenerative diseases compared to homeostasis?

Started Apr. 12, 2022

Abstract or project description

Microglia are the primary immune defense system of the central nervous system (CNS) and are phagocytic cells which remove damaged neurons, pathogens, and synapses throughout the brain and spinal cord. Due to the fact that the traditional immune system cannot access the brain through the blood brain barrier (BBB), microglia is the solution. When triggered, microglia can release cytokines to help other immune cells like T-cells to get into the brain when the brain is damaged. Microglia can also create chemical signals which can promote inflammation and kill off any invading bacteria. However, this isn’t always a good thing because these signals can actually harm useful cells and promote cell death instead. Recent research has shown that microglia have been a driving factor in neurodegenerative diseases. A main function of microglia is to prune the extra synapses that are formed during the early development of the brain. However, in diseases like Alzheimer’s, it has been observed that they become activated again and produce toxic chemical signals that promote neuronal death and degeneration in the mature brain. Additionally, it has been found that microglia have been abnormal in brains with ASD. It has not been confirmed whether microglia are responsible for the onset of these conditions but it is still important to understand the genes and mechanisms that are behind the change in microglia function. In this review paper, we will identify the genes in microglia that have been altered in different neurodegenerative diseases and examine their implications on the conditions.