Welcome to the home page of the Livesey lab at the Gurdon Institute and Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge.

Our group uses using neurons derived from human pluripotent stem cells to explore the mechanisms at work in neuro-development and degeneration.

If you would like to join us to take part in this research in any position, please contact Rick Livesey.


Three recent papers from the Livesey lab describe:
 • how extracellular forms of Aβ and Tau which are produced in iPSC models of Alzheimer’s Disease can disrupt synaptic plasticity (Cell Reports, 2018);
 • how live imaging the uptake of extracellular monomeric and aggregated Tau shows that they efficiently enter human iPSC-derived neurons through overlapping but distinct pathways ( Cell Reports, 2018);
 • and the consequences of missense TREM2 mutations in human stem cell-derived microglial cells (Stem Cell Reports, 2018).

We are frequently asked about our protocols for making cortex-in-a-dish. Download here the most recent version of this protocol, describing induction from feeder-free culture. For links to our papers describing the method for deriving cortical neurons from human iPSCs and the subsequent protocol paper please see our publications page.

The Livesey lab is frequently hiring. Posts are advertised on the Gurdon Institute vacancies page or on Cambridge Jobs.

Oct 2014: The University of Cambridge 'Research Horizons' magazine interviewed Rick about the work in our lab. Read the full article here: The man with a thousand brains.

Mar 2014: The lab was featured in BBC One science programme Bang Goes the Theory. The episode was aired on 31/3/2014. Watch again via BBC iplayer, or see a short clip here.

Hello and goodbye

Welcome to new PostDoc Federica who joined us from the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, and fond farewell to Manuel Peter, moving to Harvard.

Useful links

• University of Cambridge •
• Gurdon Institute •
• Hermes Webmail •
• Entrez •
• Ensembl •


• Cell •
• Current_Biology •
• Dev.Cell •
• Development •
• Genes&Dev. •
• GenomeBiology •
• J.Neurosci. •
• Nature •
• Nature Neuroscience •
• Neuron •
• PLOS Biology •
• PNAS •
• Science •

Alzheimer's Disease

AD is the most common cause of dementia worldwide, and on the increase in an aging population.

Because of the difficulty in studying Alzheimer’s progression in vivo, and the limitations of animal models, we are using our system to discover more about how the disease develops, and how it could be treated.

Neurons from skin cells

Human iPS cells (induced Pluripotent stem cells) are adult cells - usually from the skin - which have been 'reprogrammed' to an embryonic state. These have the potential to be turned into any type of cell from the body, and we differentiate these into cortical neurons. The reseachers behind the development of iPS technology, Prof Sir John Gurdon, and Prof Shinya Yamanaka were awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize for their work.

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