Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of neuronal development and regeneration, and to utilize gained knowledge in developing translational approaches for repairing injured central nervous system (CNS) circuits. Several species of lower vertebrates have the capacity to regenerate and repair the injured CNS. However, in mammals the ability for CNS self-repair is lost during maturation.
The failure of the CNS to regenerate is a major unmet clinical problem, which limits recovery of functions after brain injury, spinal cord injury, white matter stroke, and optic neuropathies. For example, these injuries could disrupt the long distance axonal connections between neurons, and lead to disabilities such as paralysis or blindness.
The model system we use to tackle this problem is an injury to the optic nerve in rodents, which is an accepted model of human traumatic optic neuropathy. Furthermore, the approaches which could regenerate axons in this circuit have the potential to repair other CNS circuits as well.
Graduate Rotation Student
Projects in the lab revolve around fundamental questions in neuronal development and regeneration in the CNS. We integrate cutting edge molecular, biochemical, genetic, bioinformatics, and translational approaches, which involve:
- Histology and neuroanatomical analysis using confocal microscopy
- Rodent CNS in vivo injury models and gene therapy
- Neuronal cell culture and transfection
- Next-generation sequencing and neuro-bioinformatics