Research Interest  

Cellular mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders and the identification of neuroprotective and/or rescue compounds.

In our lab we investigate the role played by microglia, important immunological cells of the brain, in regulating neuronal fate and function. The ongoing projects examine how microglia affect brain injury and repair, brain development and brain aging with a focus on microglial-neuronal interactions. We are also interested in how drugs used to treat psychiatric illnesses affect microglial functioning and thus their signaling to neurons and other brain cells. We use a variety of model systems and take a life-span approach to our studies with the ultimate goal of elucidating effective therapeutic strategies for neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Techniques including immunochemistry (ELISA, immunohisto- and immunocytochemistry, ELISA, Western blotting), HPLC, GC, standard histology, radioenzymatic assays, autoradiography and molecular biology are used to investigate the relative contributions of events such as glutamate excitotoxicity, free radicals, microglial activation and the role of cytokines in neuronal cell death.

Projects currently ongoing in the laboratory focus primarily on the following:

1.     The role of neuroinflammation in adult and neonatal stroke.

2.     Evaluation of novel neuroprotective strategies.

3.     The effects of antidepressant drugs on neuronal-glial interactions

4.     Cultured cell (primary neuronal, glial, mixed and cell lines) studies of mechanisms associated with brain cell death.