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Research Laboratories

Johns Hopkins neurology and neurosurgery research brings together some of the world’s most creative and curious minds who, together are working toward cures for devastating diseases such as brain cancer, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and dementia, while broadening our understanding of the most complex organ system in the body.

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  • Laboratory of Vestibular NeuroAdaptation

    The Laboratory of Vestibular NeuroAdaptation investigates mechanisms of gaze stability in people with loss of vestibular sensation. A bulk of our research investigates motor learning in the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) using different types of error signals. In addition, we investigate the synergistic relationship between the vestibular and saccadic oculomotor systems as trainable strategies for gaze stability. We are particularly interested in developing novel technologies to assess and deliver improved rehabilitation outcomes. We are validating a hand-held computer tablet for assessment of sensorimotor function and participating in a clinical trial comparing traditional vestibular rehabilitation against a device developed in our laboratory that can unilaterally or bilaterally strengthen the VOR.

    Members of the lab include physical therapists, physicians, engineers, statisticians and post-doctoral fellows. The laboratory is supported by generous grant funding from NASA, the NIH, the DOD and grateful patients

    Research Areas: gaze stability, vestibular sensation, vestibulo-ocular reflex, rehabilitation, sensorimotor functions

  • Marsh Lab

    The Marsh Lab studies stroke treatment, recovery and risk identification. The Marsh Lab created the Hemorrhage Risk Stratification (HeRS) score to predict hemorrhagic transformation in patients treated with anticoagulants. Currently, the Marsh Lab is using magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate how strokes impact higher level cognitive processes. Additional research in the lab focuses on treatment options for reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS).

    Research Areas: stroke, stroke rehabilitation, stroke recovery

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Elisabeth Marsh, M.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Merkin Peripheral Neuropathy and Nerve Regeneration Center

    The Merkin Center's goal is to advance peripheral neuropathy research, deepen our understanding of these conditions and their causes and develop viable therapies. The center will tackle pressing research questions in peripheral neuropathy, with a particular focus on areas that impede the development of better diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

    Research Areas: nerve regeneration, peripheral neuropathy

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Ahmet Hoke, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology
    Neurosurgery

  • Mohamed Farah Lab

    The Mohamed Farah Lab studies axonal regeneration in the peripheral nervous system. We've found that genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition of beta-amyloid cleaving enzyme (BACE1) markedly accelerate axonal regeneration in the injured peripheral nerves of mice. We postulate that accelerated nerve regeneration is due to blockade of BACE1 cleavage of two different BACE1 substrates. The two candidate substrates are the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in axons and tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1) on macrophages, which infiltrate injured nerves and clear the inhibitory myelin debris. In the coming years, we will systematically explore genetic manipulations of these two substrates in regard to accelerated axonal regeneration and rapid myelin debris removal seen in BACE1 KO mice. We also study axonal sprouting and regeneration in motor neuron disease models.

    Research Areas: genomics, nerve regeneration, nervous system

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Mohamed Farah, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Neuroimaging and Modulation Laboratory (NIMLAB)

    The neuroimaging and Modulation Laboratory (NIMLAB) investigates neural correlates of cognition and behavior using neuroimaging methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuromodulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We are looking in depth at the contributions of the cerebellum and cerebro-cerebellar circuits to cognition; the effects of chronic heavy alcohol consumption on cognition and brain activation underlying cognitive function; how aging in humans affects neural systems that are important for associative learning and stimulus awareness; and the integration of transcranial magnetic stimulation with functional MRI.

    Research Areas: cognition, alcohol, functional magnetic resonance imaging, imaging, aging, neuroscience, neuroimaging, transcranial magnetic stimulation

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    John Desmond, Ph.D., M.S.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Neuroimmunopathology Lab

    The research activities of the Neuroimmunopathology Laboratory focus on studies of immunological and molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders. Our main areas of research include studies of neurological complications of HIV infection and AIDS, multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, autism and epilepsy. We seek to explore and identify immunopathological mechanisms associated with neurological disease that may be the target of potential therapeutic interventions. The laboratory collaborates with other researchers and laboratories at Johns Hopkins and other institutions in projects related with studies of the interaction between the immune and central nervous systems in pathological processes leading to neurological dysfunction.

    Research Areas: multiple sclerosis, autism, epilepsy, HIV, transverse myelitis

    Principal Investigator

    Carlos Pardo-Villamizar, M.D.

    Department

    Neurology
    Neurosurgery

  • Neuro-Oncology Surgical Outcomes Laboratory

    Directed by Debraj “Raj” Mukherjee, MD, MPH, the laboratory focuses on improving access to care, reducing disparities, maximizing surgical outcomes, and optimizing quality of life for patients with brain and skull base tumors.



    The laboratory achieves these aims by creating and analyzing institutional and national databases, developing and validating novel patient-centered quality of life instruments, leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence platforms to risk-stratify vulnerable patient populations, and designing novel surgical trials to push the boundaries of neurosurgical innovation.



    Our research also investigates novel approaches to improve neurosurgical medical education including studying the utility of video-based surgical coaching and the design of new operative instrumentation.

    Research Areas: medical education, surgical outcomes, neurosurgery, machine learning, access to care, surgical coaching, population health, quality of life, public health, artificial intelligence, oncology, disparities

  • Neurosurgery Spinal Research Lab

    The Spinal Research Laboratory is the world’s leading research lab dedicated to animal models of spinal conditions. Our goal is to improve care and surgical outcomes for patients with spinal problems. Using novel models and techniques, our investigators have created new ways to study tumors of the spinal cord and spinal column, spinal paralysis and spinal fusion physiology. In addition, they consistently test spinal devices for effectiveness.

    Research Areas: spinal tumors, spine surgery, spine

  • Neuro-Vestibular and Ocular Motor Laboratory

    In our laboratory we study the brain mechanisms of eye movements and spatial orientation.

    -How magnetic stimulation through transcranial devices affects cortical brain regions
    -Neural mechanisms underlying balance, spatial orientation and eye movement
    -Mathematical models that describe the function of ocular motor systems and perception of spatial orientation
    -Short- and long-term adaptive processes underlying compensation for disease and functional recovery in patients with ocular motor, vestibular and perceptual dysfunction
    Developing and testing novel diagnostic tools, treatments, and rehabilitative strategies for patients with ocular motor, vestibular and spatial dysfunction

    Research Areas: perception of spatial orientation, ocular motor physiology

    Principal Investigator

    Amir Kheradmand, M.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • S.C.O.R.E. Lab

    The mission of the Stroke Cognitive Outcomes and Recovery (S.C.O.R.E.) Lab is to enhance knowledge of brain mechanisms that allow people recover language, empathy, and other cognitive and communicative functions after stroke, and to improve ways to facilitate recovery of these functions after stroke. We also seek to improve the understanding of neurobiology of primary progressive aphasia., and how to enhance communication in people with this group of clinical syndromes.

    Research Areas: cerebrovascular, cognitive neuroscience, dementia

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Argye Hillis, M.D.

    Department

    Neurology

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