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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.


  • "Investigating the Role of Microglia in Neurodegeneration" with mentor Kevin (Aug. 31, 2022)

Project Portfolio

Investigating the Role of Microglia in Neurodegeneration

Started Apr. 12, 2022

Abstract or project description

Microglia are glial cells that act as the immune cells of the central nervous system(CNS), consisting of about 5-12% of CNS cells. These specialized cells serve three main functions: sensation of changes in the environment, phagocytosis to promote neuronal well-being, and a defensive function in response to injurious changes. Microglia are continuously active, sensing the environment for any changes to make an informed decision on whether to perform their housekeeping or defensive actions. These cells can take part in the pruning and remodeling of synapses or phagocytosis of dead or dying cells. They can also initiate neuroinflammation in response to infectious pathogens by producing cytokines such as TNF and IL-1 to summon additional cells to terminate the infectious agents. Microglia utilize hundreds of genes to perform these functions, but some of them contribute to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In fact, some research has claimed that the majority of pathogenic genes and pathways are expressed most highly in microglia, suggesting that they might really be a nexus to understanding all these diseases  and finding new treatments. We can observe characteristics specific to microglial that have been linked to specific neurodegenerative diseases to try and further investigate their causes and how to treat them. Here, we discuss the role of microglia in specific neurodegenerative diseases and what current possibilities of further exploration exist to find therapies.