OverviewResearch in our lab is focused on developing experimental strategies for brain rescue and repair. As a potential therapy for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and injury, stem cells have been proposed as unique sources of transplantable cells to provide neuroprotection and to replace degenerating neurons and glial cells.
We are using this strategy and developing novel methods for neuroprotection and neuroregeneration using transplantation of multipotent stem cells [mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and neural stem/progenitor cells] genetically engineered to release neurotrophic factors with a future goal towards autologous transplantation to treat nervous system injury and disease. Engineering stem cells ex vivo for neural repair strategies may ultimately provide a reliable means of long-term delivery of therapeutic factors.
In addition, we have a highly interdisciplinary program with goals to develop approaches to facilitate repair and regeneration of the damaged nervous system. We use a combination of biomaterials in the form of polymer conduits and/or scaffolds, adult stem cells seeded on the biomaterials, and use of physical, chemical, biological and/or electrical cues to orient cell growth, control stem cell differentiation and facilitate regeneration using in vitro and in vivo models.