In our department, we study multiple human neurological disorders from cellular and molecular to translational through animal models of disease.
Alzheimer’s – Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, leading to memory loss and changes in thinking and other brain functions. It usually develops slowly and gradually gets worse as brain function declines and brain cells eventually wither and die. Ultimately, Alzheimer’s is fatal, and currently, there is no cure. – Alzheimer’s Association
Autism- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. – Autism Speaks
Huntington’s Disease- Huntington’s disease (HD) is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. HD is known as the quintessential family disease because every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of carrying the faulty gene. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. – Huntington’s Disease Society of America
Multiple Sclerosis- Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The exact antigen — or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack — remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be “immune-mediated” rather than “autoimmune.” – National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Regeneration and Sensory Impairment- Our ability to hear relies on hair cells, small sensory cells in the inner ear. Hair cells are named for microscopic hair-like extensions, called stereocilia, projecting from their tops in bundles. These “hair bundles” convert sound vibrations into electrical signals, which travel to the brain by way of the auditory, or hearing, nerve. When hair cells are damaged—by disease, injury, or aging—a person experiences hearing loss, sometimes profound. –NIH
Rett Syndrome- Rett syndrome is a unique postnatal neurological disorder that is first recognized in infancy and seen almost always in girls, but can be rarely seen in boys. It is caused by mutations on the X chromosome on a gene called MECP2. There are more than 200 different mutations found on the MECP2 gene. Most of these mutations are found in eight different “hot spots.” This is a postnatal neurological disorder. It is not a degenerative disorder. Rett syndrome causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor and autonomic function. These can include learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion. – RettSyndrome.org
Schizophrenia- Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. – National Alliance on Mental Illness
Spinal Cord Injury- Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the middle of your back. It carries signals back and forth between your body and your brain. A spinal cord injury disrupts the signals. Spinal cord injuries usually begin with a blow that fractures or dislocates your vertebrae, the bone disks that make up your spine. –NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine
Stroke– Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain., part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die. – American Stroke Association
Traumatic Brain Injury- A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. –Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Tumors/Brain Infections- A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain or central spine that can disrupt proper brain function. Doctors refer to a tumor based on where the tumor cells originated, and whether they are cancerous (malignant) or not (benign).