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Research Laboratories

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  • ALS Center

    The ALS Center for Cell Therapy and Regeneration Research at Johns Hopkins is committed to identifying the causes of the neurodegenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and discovering new and effective treatment options. At the ALS Center, Johns Hopkins researchers work with other investigators, including those at the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins and clinicians within the Johns Hopkins ALS Clinic to aggressively take groundbreaking scientific discoveries and turn them into clinical applications that will improve the quality of life of those diagnosed with ALS.

    Research Areas: ALS

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Nicholas Maragakis, M.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

    The goal of the Johns Hopkins Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) is to accelerate the discovery of new treatments that are directed at the basic mechanisms of disease, and to hasten the time when effective treatments for AD and related disorders become a reality. We have a strong commitment to basic research regarding the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders, and how this may translate into effective treatment. We perform clinical research seeking to identify medications to delay or treat the symptoms of dementia. We also provided many educational programs for family members and professionals.

    Research Areas: dementia, Alzheimer's disease

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Marilyn Albert, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Bioenergetics Core

    Mitochondrial dysfunction has long been a consistent observation in Parkinson's disease. To understand the consequences of Parkinson's disease causing genetic mutations on the function of mitochondria, the Bioenergetics Core B will provide the following analyses to the projects in the Udall Center at Johns Hopkins: (1) Measuring rates of respiration, oxygen consumption and ATP generation, (2) Measuring calcium dynamics, (3) Measuring reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species, (4) Measuring the activity of the electron transport chain enzymes and metabolic enzymes, and (5) Measuring plasma versus mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial membrane permeability

    Research Areas: enzymes, cell biology, bioenergetics, respiration, Parkinson's disease, mitochondria, neurology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Valina Dawson, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Brain Cancer Biology and Therapy Lab

    The goal of the Johns Hopkins Brain Cancer Biology and Therapy Laboratory is to locate the genetic and genomic changes that lead to brain cancer. These molecular changes are evaluated for their potential as therapeutic targets and are often mutated genes, or genes that are over-expressed during the development of a brain cancer. The brain cancers that the Riggins Laboratory studies are medulloblastomas and glioblastomas. Medulloblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumor for children and glioblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumor for adults. Both tumors are difficult to treat, and new therapies are urgently needed for these cancers. Our laboratory uses large-scale genomic approaches to locate and analyze the genes that are mutated during brain cancer development. The technologies we now employ are capable of searching nearly all of a cancer genome for molecular alterations that can lead to cancer. The new molecular targets for cancer therapy are first located by large scale gene expression analysis, whole-genome scans for altered gene copy number and high throughput sequence analysis of cancer genomes. The alterations we find are then studied in-depth to determine how they contribute to the development of cancer, whether it is promoting tumor growth, enhancing the ability for the cancer to invade into normal tissue, or preventing the various fail-safe mechanisms programmed into our cells.

    Research Areas: brain cancer

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Gregory Riggins, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurosurgery

  • Clinical and Computational Auditory neuroscience

    Our laboratory investigates the neural bases of sound processing in the human brain. We combine electrophysiology recordings (intracranial, scalp), behavioral paradigms, and statistical modeling methods to study the cortical dynamics of normal and impaired auditory perception. We are interested in measuring and modeling variability in spatiotemporal cortical response patterns as a function of individual listening abilities and acoustic sound properties. Current studies are investigating the role of high-frequency (>30 Hz) neural oscillations in human auditory perception.

    Research Areas: vestibular disorders

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Dana Boatman, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Gabsang Lee Lab

    Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) provide unprecedented opportunities for cell replacement approaches, disease modeling and drug discovery in a patient-specific manner. The Gabsang Lee Lab focuses on the neural crest lineage and skeletal muscle tissue, in terms of their fate-determination processes as well as relevant genetic disorders.

    Previously, we studied a human genetic disorder (familial dysautonomia, or FD) with hiPSCs and found that FD-specific neural crest cells have low levels of genes needed to make autonomous neurons--the ones needed for the "fight-or-flight" response. In an effort to discover novel drugs, we performed high-throughput screening with a compound library using FD patient-derived neural crest cells.

    We recently established a direct conversion methodology, turning patient fibroblasts into "induced neural crest (iNC)" that also exhibit disease-related phenotypes, just as the FD-hiPSC-derived neural crest. We're extending our research to the neural crest's neighboring cells, somite. Using multiple genetic reporter systems, we identified sufficient cues for directing hiPSCs into somite stage, followed by skeletal muscle lineages. This novel approach can straightforwardly apply to muscular dystrophies, resulting in expandable myoblasts in a patient-specific manner.

    Research Areas: stem cells, human-induced pluripotent stem cells, genomics, drugs, muscular dystrophy, familial dysautonomia

    Principal Investigator

    Gabsang Lee, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • JHU NIMH Research Center

    The Johns Hopkins NIMH Center is comprised of an interdisciplinary research team who has pooled their talents to study the nature of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Their aim is to translate discoveries of the pathophysiological mechanisms into novel therapeutics for HAND.Our objectives are to integrate aspects of ongoing research in HAND and SIV encephalitis; to develop high-throughput and screening assays for identifying novel therapeutic compounds; to use proteomics and lipidomics approaches to indentifying surrogate markers of disease activity; to disseminate information and education about HAND through existing and new educational systems, including the JHU AIDS Education Training Center and the JHU Center for Global Clinical Education and to facilitate the entry of new investigators into neuro-AIDS research, and to catalyze new areas of research, particularly where relevant for drug discovery or the development of validated surrogate markers.

    Research Areas: neuropathy, HAND, AIDS dementia complex, myopathy, myelopathy, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Justin McArthur, M.B.B.S., M.P.H.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Laboratory of Auditory Neurophysiology

    Research in the Laboratory of Auditory Neurophysiology aims to understand brain mechanism responsible for auditory perception and vocal communication in a naturalistic environment. We are interested in revealing neural mechanisms operating in the cerebral cortex and how cortical representations of biologically important sounds emerge through development and learning.

    We use a combination of state-of-the-art neurophysiological techniques and sophisticated computational and engineering tools to tackle our research questions.

    Current research in our laboratory includes the following areas (1) neural basis of auditory perception, (2) neural mechanisms for vocal communication and social interaction, and (3) cortical processing of cochlear implant stimulation.

    Research Areas: neurophysiology, neuroengineering, audiology, cochlear implant, learning, language

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Xiaoqin Wang, Ph.D.

    Department

    Biomedical Engineering

  • Laboratory of Richard L. Huganir

    The Laboratory of Richard L. Huganir is interested in the mechanisms that regulate synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. Our general approach is to study molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate neurotransmitter receptors and synapse function. We are currently focusing our efforts on the mechanisms that underlie the regulation of the glutamate receptors, the major excitatory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain.

    Research Areas: synapses, neurotransmitters, cell biology, brain, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Richard Huganir, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • 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

  • 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, M.S., Ph.D.

    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

  • Neurosurgery Spine Research Lab

    The Spinal Research Laboratory is the leading research laboratory in the world dedicated to animal models of spinal conditions. Using novel models and techniques, Dr Sciubba and his collaborators have been able to create new ways to study tumors of the spinal cord and spinal column, spinal paralysis, and spinal fusion physiology. In addition, they consistently test certain spinal devices for effectiveness in the spine. Led by Dr Daniel Sciubba, this laboratory has received annual funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and various foundations including: American Association of neurological Surgeons (AANS), Congress of neurological Surgeons (CNS), North American Spine Society (NASS), AOSpine, neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF), and the AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves. Recently, the laboratory has also begun relationships with industry, including K2M and Depuy Spine. In addition, private donations are accepted regularly to help fund various projects.

    Research Areas: spine

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Dan Sciubba, M.D.

    Department

    Neurosurgery

  • 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

  • Spinal Column Biomechanics Lab

    The Spinal Column Biomechanics Laboratory focuses on the study of various spinal pathologies. The Biomechanics Laboratory studies a wide array of tools and techniques in order to advance spinal surgery for the benefit of patients. With a team of researchers, engineers, and neurosurgeons, the Biomechanics Laboratory participates in the newest developments in applied and translational research. Our facility alongside the International Center for Orthopaedic Advancement at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center serves as a premiere learning institute. The laboratory not only conducts novel biomechanical studies but also functions as a teaching facility for neurosurgical trainees interested in mastering highly specialized or technical procedures.The Spinal Column Biomechanics Laboratory specializes in applied mechanics, force vector analysis, spinal instrumentation testing and development of novel spinal reconstructions.

    Research Areas: spine

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Ali Bydon, M.D.

    Department

    Neurosurgery

  • Spinal Column Surgical Outcomes Lab

    The Spinal Column Surgical Outcomes Laboratory aims to improve the neurological outcomes and functional capacity of patients undergoing spinal surgery. We collect large-scale retrospective patient databases and prospective patient registries to report high-quality data relating to the outcomes of neurosurgical operations. The laboratory participates in the National neurosurgical Quality and Outcomes Database (N2QOD). This multi-institutional collaboration has set forth a 3-year prospective study to benchmark quality and surgical outcome measures across several academic institutions. The Spinal Column Surgical Outcomes Laboratory specializes in biostatistical analysis of large-scale clinical databases, studying the outcomes of traditional and novel spinal procedures, quality control and cost-effectiveness research and clinical trials relating to spinal surgery outcomes.

    Research Areas: spine

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Ali Bydon, M.D.

    Department

    Neurosurgery

  • Supendymoma and Ependymoma Research Center

    The Johns Hopkins comprehensive Subependymoma and Ependymoma Research Center divideS its efforts into three areas: basic science, translational research and clinical practice. Each division works separately but shares findings and resources openly with each other and our collaborators. The goal of our united efforts is to optimize current treatments to affect the care received by patients with subependymomas and ependymomas. Also, our clinical, translational and basic science teams work to develop novel therapies to improve and extend the lives of those with these rare tumors.

    Research Areas: brain cancer

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Henry Brem, M.D.

    Department

    Neurosurgery

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