Biomedical

Carmela Abraham, Ph.D. (Professor, Member of the GPN GEC, Department of Biochemistry (BUMC)) studies the mechanisms of brain aging and the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The 40-42 amino acid amyloid beta peptide (Aß) is the major component of plaques that accumulate in the brains of AD patients and are believed to cause irreversible mental deterioration. Formation and clearance of the neurotoxic Aß are major therapeutic targets for the treatment of AD. Aß is a proteolytic fragment of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), a ubiquitously expressed and conserved protein., The Abraham laboratory is conducting a screen to identify inhibitors of APP dimerization, because of its importance for Aß production, and has identified a proteolytic activity involved Aß degradation.  Her laboratory also studies the aging rhesus monkey as a model for normal human brain aging because they develop cognitive impairment with age. To their surprise, they could not detect cortical neuronal loss, but extensive changes in the white matter and particularly in myelin. They attribute these changes that occur with aging to neuroinflammation, a major area of their research interests along with the anti-aging gene Klotho that is markedly reduced in oligodendrocytes.

Gene Blatt, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (BUMC)) directs the Laboratory for Autism Neuroscience Research that is focused on the neuropathological and neurochemical alterations in the brains of individuals with autism. Cerebellar, limbic and cortical regions are investigated using a variety of proven neuroanatomical and neurochemical techniques including autoradiography, in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry. Their goal is to identify and quantify core neural substrates as biomarkers for the developmental disorder in order to aid in the development of novel pharmacotherapies and to better understand current treatments within subsets of autistic individuals.

J. Krzysztof Blusztajn, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Pathology (BUMC)) studies the effects of perinatal availability of an essential nutrient, choline, on brain development and aging in experimental animals. This research endeavors to determine why it is that supplementation with choline during critical perinatal periods in rats and mice causes a long-term facilitation of visuospatial memory which persists until old age. To this end they are utilizing biochemical, neuroanatomical, and behavioral techniques in a highly unified experimental design. Their studies to date have focused on the development of the basal forebrain cholinergic system, hippocampal MAPK and CREB signaling, and on the developmental patterns of brain gene expression.  They are also the first to show that choline nutrition in pregnancy alters the epigenome of the brain.

Jiang-Fan Chen, M.D., Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology (BUMC)). In the laboratory of molecular pharmacology, Dr. Chen’s research focuses on the neurobiology of adenosine and the A2A adenosine receptor and the role they may play in the development and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Chen has developed an A2A receptor knockout mouse model and couples this genetic approach with pharmacological manipulation to explore the pathophysiological role of A2A receptors in animal and cellular models of neuropsychiatric disorders. The knowledge derived from these studies may provide the neurobiological basis for rational development of A2A receptor agents as treatment strategies for neuropsychological disorders, ranging from Parkinson’s disease to drug addiction.

Dominic A. Ciraulo, M.D. (Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry (BUMC)). Dr. Ciraulo’s research interests focus on addiction psychopharmacology. He is the Principal Investigator of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and The BUMC Medication Development for Stimulants Center, and the Principal Investigator on grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that study the role of medications and psychosocial therapies in the treatment of alcoholism. His research also examines the relationship between animal and human models for screening of medications to treat addiction. The medication development program incorporates the latest neuroimaging technologies in collaboration with the Brain Imaging Center at Boston University School of Medicine.

William Eldred, Ph.D. (Professor, Member of the GPN GEC and former Director of Program in Neuroscience, Department of Biology (CRC)) The laboratory studies nitric oxide (NO) that has normal physiological functions in every retinal cell type, and every retinal cell type can potentially make NO.  NO is also involved in many ocular pathologies including diabetic retinopathy and inhibiting NO is often beneficial.  NO signaling is regulated by many factors, both in normal retinal function and pathology, making it desirable to target just the pathological pathways.  Research of the laboratory focuses on how NO can be selectively targeted to decrease the neuronal and vascular pathology in diabetic retinopathy.  They are testing the following two hypotheses. 1) Diabetes increases the retinal levels of adrenomedullin (ADM), which in turn activates neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) to increase retinal NO production to pathological levels.  These studies provide the first demonstration of the ADM/nNOS/NO signaling pathways in retina and their modulation in the neuronal and vascular pathology in diabetic retinopathy. 2) Neuronal and vascular pathology in diabetic retinopathy share similar molecular pathways and are amenable to similar pharmacological interventions.  Their results will clarify the role of specific NOS isoforms and ADM in diabetic retinopathy and how these pathways can be optimally targeted to treat the pathology.  Upregulation of ADM is also found in proliferative vitreoretinopathy, uveitis, vitreoretinal disorders, primary open angle glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa.  A clearer understanding of the ADM/NOS/NO signaling pathways and how they can be manipulated in retina may have broad implications for much ocular pathology.

David H. Farb, Ph.D. (Professor and Chair, Member of the Executive Committee of the BU Center for Neuroscience, Department of Pharmacology (BUMC)) focuses on the identification of pharmacological treatments for mental disorders of learning and memory.  His research integrates existing electrophysiological, behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular genetic technologies in a novel systems-level platform for assessing the impact of cognitive enhancers upon fundamental hippocampal systems for pattern separation (encoding), and pattern completion (retrieval) that are believed to be essential for cognition in all mammals, including man. Deficits in aspects of episodic memory dependent on hippocampal function are evident in a variety of mental disorders that have a huge social impact, including schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, and normal aging. Existing pharmacotherapies for many such conditions are limited and carry substantial risk of adverse effects. High-density electrophysiological recordings in awake behaving rats are being used to identify deficits in hippocampal function that underlie cognitive deficits exhibited by aged animals and animals reared in social isolation, the latter being a model for environmental stress during development. A multidisciplinary approach that includes the techniques of neurophysiology, molecular biology, patch-clamp electrophysiology, cell biology, and molecular neuroanatomy are combined to elucidate the mechanisms and modalities of cognitive enhancers and the discovery of therapeutic treatments for disorders or diseases of the nervous system.

Lindsay A. Farrer, Ph.D. (Professor of Medicine, Neurology, Genetics & Genomics, Epidemiology, & Biostatistics; Chief, Genetics Program (BUMC)). Dr. Farrer’s research investigates genetic risk factors in familial neurodegenerative and other chronic diseases. In collaboration with other laboratories worldwide, his group has localized genes causing rare and common disorders including Alzheimer disease (AD), Wilson disease, Machado-Joseph disease, Waardenburg syndrome, hypertension, sensorineural deafness, and osteoarthritis. In collaboration with researchers at other institutions, Dr. Farrer is conducting a genome scan to search for genes conveying susceptibility to cocaine and opioid dependence among families with multiple affected members.

Terrell T. Gibbs, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Member of the GPN GEC, Department of Pharmacology (BUMC)) research interests focus on the pharmacology of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, and on mechanisms of modulation and regulation of neurotransmitter receptor function, including allosteric modulation, up- and down-regulation, desensitization, and tolerance. Current studies concern the acute and chronic effects of modulators of amino acid neurotransmitter receptors, including benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and neuroactive steroids. Computational and electrophysiological methods are used to evaluate thermodynamically plausible models for receptor function. Trainees will participate in the design and execution of pharmacological studies, and will be trained in the use of biochemical and/or electrophysiological techniques for studying receptor function.  Dr. Gibbs is a longtime collaborator with Drs. David Farb and Shelley Russek.

Lee Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, & Biomedical Engineering (BUMC/CRC)) is focused on understanding the role of abnormal protein aggregation in chronic degenerative disorders of aging. The work in his laboratory concentrates on Alzheimer’s disease, age-related cataracts, and other common diseases of aging that involve pathogenic protein aggregation. His team recently discovered the first evidence of Alzheimer’s disease-associated amyloid pathology outside the brain as well as a new transcription factor that plays a crucial role in cellular differentiation within the lens and brain. He and his laboratory are developing a laser-based diagnostic technology that will hopefully detect Alzheimer’s disease years before the first symptoms emerge.

Frank Guenther, Ph.D. (Professor, Associate Director GPN, Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems (CRC)) combines theoretical modeling with behavioral and neuroimaging experiments to characterize the neural computations underlying speech and language. He is also involved in the development of speech prostheses that utilize brain-computer interfaces to restore synthetic speech to paralyzed individuals.

Xue Han, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (CRC/BUMC)) Brain disorders represent the biggest unmet medical need, with many disorders being untreatable, and most treatments presenting serious side effects. The Han laboratory is discovering design principles for novel neuromodulation therapies. They invent and apply a variety of genetic, molecular, pharmacological, optical, and electrical tools to correct neural circuits that go awry within the brain. As an example, they have pioneered several technologies for silencing specific cells in the brain using pulses of light. They have also recently participated in the first pre-clinical testing of a novel neurotechnology, optical neural modulation. Using these novel neurotechnologies and classical ones such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), they modulate the function of neural circuits to establish causal links between neural dynamics and behavioral phenomena (e.g., movement, attention, memory, and decision making). One of their current interests is the investigation of how neural synchrony arises within and across brain regions, and how synchronous activity contributes to normal cognition and pathology.

David Harris, M.D., Ph.D. (Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry (BUMC)) The Harris laboratory studies prion diseases, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and kuru, that are fatal neurodegenerative disorders now of great medical importance because of the emergence of “mad cow disease” in Europe and the U.S., and its likely transmission to human beings. These diseases are also of enormous scientific interest because they involve an entirely novel mechanism of biological information transfer: they result from a change in the conformation of an endogenous membrane glycoprotein (PrPC) that converts it into a pathogenic isoform (PrPSc) that is infectious in the complete absence of nucleic acid.  To address this field, the laboratory utilizes several experimental systems including yeast, cultured mammalian cells, and transgenic mice.  They employ a wide range of techniques, including cell labeling, protein chemistry, light and electron microscopy, proteomics, DNA microarray analysis, mouse genetics, neuropathology, and animal bioassays.

Michael Hasselmo, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Psychology (CRC)) Research in the Hasselmo laboratory is concerned with the cortical dynamics of memory-guided behavior, including effects of neuromodulatory receptors and the role of theta rhythm oscillations in cortical function. Neurophysiological techniques are used to analyze intrinsic and synaptic properties of cortical circuits in the rat, and to explore the effects of modulators on these properties. Computational modeling is used to link this physiological data to memory-guided behavior.  Experiments using multiple single-unit recording in behavioral tasks are designed to test predictions of the computational models. Areas of focused research include episodic memory function and theta rhythm dynamics in the entorhinal cortex, prefrontal cortex and hippocampal formation. Research addresses physiological effects relevant to Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and depression.

Tarik Haydar, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology  (BUMC)) The Haydar Laboratory of Neural Development and Intellectual Disorders uses a molecular neuroscience approach to study mammalian brain development, specifically focusing on the neural stem cells and precursors in the neocortex and hippocampus. The lab also investigates the cellular and genetic mechanisms of developmental disorders including those underlying mental retardation in Down syndrome using state of the art techniques such as in utero electroporation, in vivo genetic fate mapping and cell ablation.

Angela L. Jefferson, M.D. (Associate Professor, Departments of Neurology and Medicine (Geriatrics) (BUMC)) is Director of the Education & Information Transfer Core, Director of the PAIRS Program, and Director of Predoctoral Training at the NIA-funded BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center.  Dr. Jefferson’s primary clinical neuroscience research interests focus on elucidating vascular risk factors for unhealthy brain aging, including early stage Alzheimer’s disease.  In particular, she is interested in relations between subtle heart dysfunction and cognitive and imaging markers of abnormal brain aging.

Kathleen Kantak, Ph.D. (Professor, Member of the GPN GEC, Department of Psychology (CRC)) uses animal models to conduct translational research related to drug addiction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and their co-morbidity. Using intravenous drug self-administration procedures in rats, they investigate how multiple memory systems regulate drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior as well as how drug exposure influences the neurocognitive functioning of multiple memory systems. In addition, they investigate how cognitive-enhancing therapeutics may be useful to facilitate extinction learning for drug-conditioned cues and attenuate drug relapse. Other studies focus on evaluating the frontostriatal and medial temporal lobe neurocognitive deficits in rats with an ADHD phenotype and their response to medications as well as comorbidity between ADHD and vulnerability to drug addiction. In the context of all this research, Kantak collaborates with other investigators to conduct image analysis or to understand the neurochemical and molecular correlates of these disorders and their treatment.

Gary Kaplan, M.D. (Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology (BUMC)) Addiction can be conceptualized as a progressive phenomenon initiated and maintained by the conditioned rewarding effects of drugs of abuse. As a result of neural plasticity in motivational and cognitive circuits, exposure to drug cues previously can evoke drug craving and seeking responses and that can reinstate drug taking. Our research examines the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid- (GABA) type B and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor receptor agents on the acquisition and expression of opiate and cocaine reward, self-administration, their extinction, and reacquisition. Such research defines the mechanisms related to drug relapse and defines novel therapeutic targets of interest for clinical studies. We utilize state-of-the-art methods in behavioral neuroscience, neuroanatomy, and neurochemistry to study these signaling pathways and circuitry in addiction.

Conan Kornetsky, Ph.D. (Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology (BUMC)) Dr. Kornetsky is internationally recognized as one of the early pioneers in the field of drug abuse.  He has carried out experiments on the role of the brain reward system in the reinforcing effects of abused substances, including alcohol, opioids and psychostimulants. Currently, his laboratory is pursuing research on the interaction of the brain reward and pain systems.

Susan E. Leeman, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Pharmacology (BUMC)) Dr. Leeman’s work focuses on the two peptides, substance P (SP) and neurotensin, which were isolated and chemically defined in her laboratory and lead to her membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Projects that are currently underway include: 1. the role of glycosylation of the NK1 receptor on its signal transduction pathways, 2. the roles of SP in several models of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, including post-surgical cell adhesion formation, and the effect of non-peptide SP antagonists. 3. the role of LITAF, a newly described transcription factor participating in TNF alpha synthesis in macrophages obtained from inflamed colonic tissue.

Jennifer Luebke, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (BUMC))
employs whole-cell patch-clamp and intracellular filling techniques to examine the electrophysiological and morphological properties of neurons in in vitro slices of monkey and mouse neocortex. Research is focused on action potential firing patterns (and underlying ionic currents), glutamatergic and GABAergic synaptic response properties and detailed dendritic architecture. Data from single neurons are incorporated into computational models in collaboration with mathematicians at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. In addition, collaborations are ongoing with investigators at BUSM who use molecular biological (single cell PCR and microarray) and electron microscopic (ultrastructural analysis) techniques to examine cells from which recordings are obtained. Overall goals include: 1) to examine the individual and network properties of cells in the prefrontal cortex; 2) to determine the effects of normal aging on these properties in the rhesus monkey, and; 3) to determine the effects of amyloid and tau on these properties in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.

Hengye Man, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, (CRC)) is interested in the mechanisms in the expression of synaptic plasticity.  Since most of synaptic transmission is mediated by glutamatergic AMPA receptors, the study has been focused on regulation of AMPA receptor expression, turnover and synaptic localization as well as synaptogenesis.

Mark Moss, Ph.D. (Professor and Chairman, Member of the Executive Committee of the BU Center for Neuroscience, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (BUMC)) studies the neurobiological basis of successful and unsuccessful aging, with particular respect to memory and executive functions.  Specific interests include (1) the interaction of the prefrontal cortices with the medial temporal lobe limbic system in cognition; (2) the separate and combined effects of age and hypertension on cognition and integrity of the blood-brain barrier in a non-human primate model of hypertensive cerebrovascular disease and (3) parallel studies in normal aged humans and patients with MCI and Alzheimer’s disease. Techniques include automated behavioral assessment, functional and structural MR imaging, and an array of immunocytochemical and related anatomical-morphological techniques.

Marlene Oscar-Berman, Ph.D. (Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Psychiatry, and Neurology (BUMC)) research explores the brain and behavioral consequences of human neurological disorders.  Her recent publications are on the cognitive and emotional changes that result from chronic alcoholism, as well as on brain structural changes that are apparent in regions involved in cognitive and emotional functioning. Dr. Berman also has studied the behavioral consequences of brain damage in patients with other disorders of the central nervous system.  Additionally, her work on brain asymmetries addresses questions concerning the different roles of the two cerebral hemispheres in processing, understanding, and responding to visual information having emotional and non-emotional content.  Dr. Berman is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Fulbright award and a Senior Scientist and Mentorship award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the National Institutes of Health.

Douglas Rosene, Ph.D. (Professor, Member of the GPN GEC, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (BUMC)) The research of Dr. Rosene focuses on identifying the neurobiological basis of learning and memory and related higher cognitive functions in the normal brain and the basis of disruption of these processes in various neurodegenerative diseases and forms of neurological damage. The laboratory employs multidisciplinary methods to investigate these issues in the rhesus monkey model of cognitive function. Methods include combinations of behavioral, neurohistochemical, neurophysiological, neuroanatomical, neurosurgical, and MRI techniques. Investigations supported by the Program Project that he directs, seeks to identify the neurobiological basis of age-related impairments in learning, memory and executive function in the rhesus monkey model of normal aging. Results of these investigations have demonstrated that cortical neurons are not lost in normal aging as conventional wisdom held but instead the main changes are in the subcortical white matter of the forebrain. Parallel studies are focused on neurodegenerative disease, cerebrovascular disease and traumatic brain injury, and in collaboration with Dr. H. Eugene Stanley in the Physics Dept at BU the development of novel ways to quantify the microcolumnar structure of cerebral cortex using methods from statistical physics.

Shelley Russek, Ph.D. (Professor and Director of GPN, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (BUMC)) is interested in the genetic switches that regulate the development of the brain and its response to injury or disease.  Current research in her laboratory focuses on the role of  the GABA-A receptor system in epilepsy, autism and depression where a change in the number or kind of receptors at synaptic and extrasynaptic sites can disturb processes critical for healthy neurotransmission.   Research in the laboratory tests the relationship between gene regulatory events such as those stimulated by brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and brain inhibition, combining genomics and proteomics with animal models of disease via pharmacological and biological techniques such as chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), single cell promoter/reporter analysis, laser-capture microdissection for microgenomics, electroporation of mouse embryos and viral gene delivery in vivo to develop the foundations for future genetic therapies and as a basis for understanding disease etiology.

Valentina Sabino, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics) is co-director of the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders. Dr. Sabino is currently researching the neurobiology of addiction and stress-related disorders.  Studies on addiction aim to understand the neurobiological substrates of alcohol abuse and dependence, by exploring the role of central neurochemical systems in excessive alcohol drinking. She is working toward the development of new therapeutic agents to alleviate alcohol addiction.  Animal models for excessive drinking are studied in order to identify compounds for potential clinical development.  Research is also conducted on the neurobiology of stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression. The laboratory uses environmental and genetic animal models of disease, with a multidisciplinary approach to understand the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders and to develop novel therapies.

Julie Sandell, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (BUMC)) studies the anatomical changes in the retina in retinitis pigmentosa (RP).  RP is the most common form of blindness that is caused by genetic defects. Her laboratory is part of a multi-institution effort to develop a retinal prosthesis to help patients with RP. In addition to performing studies of retinae from human donors with RP, the lab examines retinae from animal models of the disease and animals that have been implanted with prototype prostheses.  The lab also provides the anatomical analysis that is necessary for the development and evaluation of additional novel therapies for RP, including stem cell transplantation to rescue degenerating retina and the efficacy of neurotrophin-releasing hydrogels to coat retinal implants.

Jean-Jacques R. Soghomonian, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (BUMC)) The laboratory focuses on the functional and chemical neuroanatomy of the basal ganglia and the cerebral cortex in normal animals and in experimental models of Parkinson disease. Current objectives are to study the plasticity of GABA-mediated signaling in the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex and the mechanisms involved in motor and cognitive disorders in Parkinson disease in a 6-hydroxydopamine-rodent model of Parkinson’s disease and on human brains.  The research involves behavioral and biochemical/molecular approaches including analysis of gene expression by in situ hybridization histochemistry and computerized quantitative image analysis, immunohistochemistry, western-blotting and in vivo microdialysis combined with HPLC.

H. Eugene Stanley, Ph.D. (Professor, Departments of Physics, Physiology, Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering (CRC/MED)) is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a University Professor of Boston University.  Dr. Stanley works in collaboration with students and colleagues attempting to understand puzzles of interdisciplinary science. His main current focus is trying to understand the anomalous behavior of liquid water in bulk, nanoconfined, and biological environments. He has also worked on a range of other topics in complex systems, such as quantifying correlations among the constituents of the Alzheimer brain, and quantifying fluctuations in noncoding and coding DNA sequences, and interbeat intervals of the healthy and diseased heart. He was awarded the 2002 Memory Ride Prize for research on Alzheimer’s disease, and IBM awarded Boston University a one million dollar computer to continue that research in new directions.

Chantal Stern, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Psychology (CRC)) is a core faculty member of the Conte Center for Memory and Brain, a member of the NSF CELEST Science of Learning Center, and a faculty member at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She also serves as an internal advisory board member for the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center.  Her students are trained in basic fMRI research methodology, and in addition are trained either to link their fMRI work to animal and computational models (integration with Hasselmo and Eichenbaum labs) or to link their studies with clinical population studies (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV dementia, eating disorders). Chantal Stern has been instrumental in providing fMRI training to postdocs and graduate students that were initially trained in other research methodologies, including students and postdocs initially trained in ERP methods; optical animal imaging methods, animal lesion and electrophysiological methods, clinical neuropsychology methods, and structural and morphometric imaging method.

Helen Tager-Flusberg, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (BUMC)) is the Director of the Lab of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston University/BU School of Medicine.  For the past three decades she has investigated the cognitive architecture that characterizes children with different neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, Williams syndrome, specific language impairment and other genetically-based disorders, with a particular focus on language and social cognition.  Her work emphasizes the integral connection between typical and atypical development exploring how data from children with neurodevelopmental disorders may illuminate theoretical issues of normal development.

Lucia Vaina, M.D., Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering (CRC)) The adult brain constantly adapts to changes in stimuli, and this plasticity is manifest not only as learning and memory but also as dynamic changes in information transmission and processing. The goal of research in the Brain and  Vision Research Laboratory is to understand the mechanisms mediating human visual perception in healthy and damaged human brain,  long-term plasticity and short-term dynamics in networks of the  adult normal and damaged (from stroke) cortex by using interactively multimodal imaging (fMRI, MEG, DTI), psychophysics, and biologically constrained computational modeling. An additional facet of our research is translational, conducted hand in hand with several neurologists and psychiatrist clinicians, that investigates multisensory processing for facilitating behavior and recovery in stroke patients.

Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D. (Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (BUMC)) is interested in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases focusing on the biology of proteins that accumulate as aggregates or regulate aggregation.  For Parkinson’s disease they study alpha-synuclein and LRRK2.  For work on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis they study TDP-43.  Alzheimer research focuses on beta-amyloid, cholesterol and SORL1.  The approaches used include cell and molecular biology, signal transduction, neurotoxicity, apoptosis and neuroprotection.  Models include C. elegans, cell lines, primary neuronal cultures and pathological human tissues.