Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2011
Mentor: Mark Goldberg, MD
Department: Neurology & Neurotherapeutics
Room number: ND4.120
Mail Code: 8813
Phone number: 214/645-6225
Project title: Axonal outgrowth and spinal plasticity following focal stroke
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): N/A
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): 2010-0133
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects) Animal-based research.
Brief Description of Project:
Our research is focused on cellular mechanisms of brain injury and recovery. Many forms of nervous system damage, such as stroke, are mediated by release of the excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, and overactivation of glutamate receptors (excitotoxicity), while longer-term repair mechanisms include structural and functional plasticity both in the areas surrounding the injury, as well as in remote regions, including the spinal cord. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how neurological function may recover by replacement of damaged axons and synapses in the central nervous system.
We are now utilizing a spontaneous mutant mouse line, WldS mice, which expresses a novel Ube4b-Nmnat1 chimeric protein that slows Wallerian degeneration following axonal injury. We will be quantifying the effect of the WldS gene on infarct progression, axonal outgrowth at the level of the spinal cord, and behavioral recovery following a transient stroke.
Experimental methods used in the lab will include cell culture of neurons isolated from WldS mice, virus delivery of neurotherapeutics to enhance axonal preservation, digital fluorescence imaging, multiphoton/confocal microscopy, various surgical methods for induction of focal stroke, and behavioral testing and interventions. Our overall goal is to understand the progression of stroke pathology and find new approaches to protect the brain and to enhance recovery after stroke and trauma.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
Medical students will be mentored by Dr. Mark Goldberg, Professor and Chair of Neurology, together with Dr. Ann Stowe, Assistant Professor of Neurology, in the Haggerty Center for Research on Brain Injury and Repair in Stroke.
Dr. Goldberg mentored many medical and graduate students in his previous laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served before June 2010 as Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, and Director of the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders. In addition to summer laboratory research projects, medical students were also involved in development of interactive teaching materials as part of the Internet Stroke Center (www.strokecenter.org), an NIH-funded stroke education website, and the NIH Specialized Program in Translational Research in Acute Stroke (SPOTRIAS, PI: Education Core). Dr. Goldberg received several awards for medical student teaching, including selection as “Outstanding Clinical Teacher of the Year” by three classes of WU medical students.