Brain and spinal cord injury research
The W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience studies brain and spinal cord injury, using a wide variety of techniques to assess mechanisms and treatments of acute injury, apoptosis, demyelination, degeneration, and dysfunction. These techniques include molecular and genetic analyses of the injury response with custom-made "gene chips", atomic absorption spectroscopy to assess tissue damage, immunohistochemistry and ELISA to assess proteins, and behavioral scoring of motor and sensory deficits in rats. We culture and characterize stem and progenitor cells isolated from embryonic and neonatal rats, transplant these cells to injured brain, spinal cord, and muscles. We study a variety of therapies in the well-standardized IMPACTOR model of rat spinal cord injury, including glucocorticoids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, neurotransmitter receptor blockers, growth factors, novel antioxidants, enzyme inhibitors, cell adhesion molecule molecules, stem and other progenitor cells, ion channel blockers, hormones, and biomaterials
Our main research goals are to discover, test, and develop practical therapies for brain and spinal cord injury. These therapies are aimed at preventing progressive damage in the brain and spinal cord, optimizing the function of surviving axons, remyelination, and regeneration. We collaborate with many laboratories around the world, in order to move therapies quickly from laboratory to clinical trial.