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Research Lab Results for neurons

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  • James Knierim Laboratory

    Principal Investigator:
    James Knierim, Ph.D.
    Neuroscience

    Research in the James Knierim Laboratory attempts to understand the flow of information through... the hippocampal formation and the computations performed by the various subfields of the hippocampus and its inputs from the entorhinal cortex. To address these issues, we use multi-electrode arrays to record the extracellular action potentials from scores of well-isolated hippocampal neurons in freely moving rats.

    These neurons, or "place cells," are selectively active when the rat occupies restricted locations in its environment and help to form a cognitive map of the environment. The animal uses this map to navigate efficiently in its environment and to learn and remember important locations. These cells are thought to play a major role in the formation of episodic (autobiographical) memories. Place cells thus constitute a tremendous opportunity to investigate the mechanisms by which the brain transforms sensory input into an internal, cognitive representation of the world and then uses this representation as the framework that organizes and stores memories of past events.
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    Research Areas: cognition, place cells, memory, neurophysiology, hippocampus
  • Lee Martin Laboratory

    Lab Website
    Principal Investigator:
    Lee Martin, Ph.D.
    Pathology

    In the Lee Martin Laboratory, we are testing the hypothesis that selective vulnerability--the p...henomenon in which only certain groups of neurons degenerate in adult onset neurological disorders like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease--is dictated by brain regional connectivity, mitochondrial function and oxidative stress. We believe it is mediated by excitotoxic cell death resulting from abnormalities in excitatory glutamatergic signal transduction pathways, including glutamate transporters and glutamate receptors as well as their downstream intracellular signaling molecules.

    We are also investigating the contribution of neuronal/glial apoptosis and necrosis as cell death pathways in animal (including transgenic mice) models of acute and progressive neurodegeneration. We use a variety of anatomical and molecular neurobiological approaches, including neuronal tract-tracing techniques, immunocytochemistry, immunoblotting, antipeptide antibody production, transmission electron microscopy and DNA analysis to determine the precise regional and cellular vulnerabilities and the synaptic and molecular mechanisms that result in selective neuronal degeneration.
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    Research Areas: ALS, neurodegeneration, selective vulnerability, cell death, Alzheimer's disease
  • Machine Biointerface Lab

    Lab Website

    Dr. Fridman's research group invents and develops bioelectronics for Neuroengineering and Medic...al Instrumentation applications. We develop innovative medical technology and we also conduct the necessary biological studies to understand how the technology could be effective and safe for people.

    Our lab is currently focused on developing the "Safe Direct Current Stimulation" technology, or SDCS. Unlike the currently available commercial neural prosthetic devices, such as cochlear implants, pacemakers, or Parkinson's deep brain stimulators that can only excite neurons, SDCS can excite, inhibit, and even sensitize them to input. This new technology opens a door to a wide range of applications that we are currently exploring along with device development: e.g. peripheral nerve stimulation for suppressing neuropathic pain, vestibular nerve stimulation to correct balance disorders, vagal nerve stimulation to suppress an asthma attack, and a host of other neuroprosthetic applications.

    Medical Instrumentation MouthLab is a "tricorder" device that we invented here in the Machine Biointerface Lab. The device currently obtains all vital signs within 60s: Pulse rate, breathing rate, temperature, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, electrocardiogram, and FEV1 (lung function) measurement. Because the device is in the mouth, it has access to saliva and to breath and we are focused now on expanding its capability to obtaining measures of dehydration and biomarkers that could be indicative of a wide range of internal disorders ranging from stress to kidney failure and even lung cancer.
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    Research Areas: medical instruments, bioelectricities, neuroengineering, nerve stimulation
  • Michael Kornberg Lab

    Lab Website

    Our laboratory conducts basic and translational research aimed at better understanding the path...ogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and the role of the immune system in CNS disease, particularly the processes that drive progressive disability such as neurodegeneration and remyelination failure. We currently have three parallel research programs: 1. Metabolism as a modulator of MS: We are studying how basic metabolic pathways regulate the immune system and how these pathways might be exploited to protect neurons and myelin-forming oligodendrocytes from injury. 2. Identifying pathways by which nitric oxide (NO) and other free radicals cause neuronal and axonal damage. Our lab is identifying specific signaling pathways initiated by NO and other free radicals that can be targeted by drugs to produce neuroprotection. 3. Modulating the innate immune system in MS: In collaboration with others at Johns Hopkins, we are studying ways to enhance the reparative functions of microglia while preventing maladaptive responses. This work has identified bryostatin-1 as a potential drug that may be re-purposed for this task. view more

    Research Areas: multiple sclerosis
  • Michael Wolfgang Laboratory

    The Wolfgang Laboratory is interested in understanding the metabolic properties of neurons and ...glia at a mechanistic level in situ. Some of the most interesting, enigmatic and understudied cells in metabolic biochemistry are those of the nervous system. Defects in these pathways can lead to devastating neurological disease. Conversely, altering the metabolic properties of the nervous system can have surprisingly beneficial effects on the progression of some diseases. However, the mechanisms of these interactions are largely unknown.

    We use biochemical and molecular genetic techniques to study the molecular mechanisms that the nervous system uses to sense and respond to metabolic cues. We seek to understand the neurometabolic regulation of behavior and physiology in obesity, diabetes and neurological disease.

    Current areas of study include deconstructing neurometabolic pathways to understand the biochemistry of the nervous system and how these metabolic pathways impact animal behavior and physiology, metabolic heterogeneity and the evolution of metabolic adaptation.
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    Research Areas: metabolic biochemistry, obesity, diabetes, genomics, neurology, nervous system, molecular biology
  • Paul Worley Lab

    Lab Website
    Principal Investigator:
    Paul Worley, M.D.
    Neuroscience

    The Paul Worley Lab examines the molecular basis of learning and memory. In particular, we clon...ed a set of immediate early genes (IEGs) that are rapidly transcribed in neurons involved in information processing, and that are essential for long term memory. IEG proteins can directly modify synapses and provide insight into cellular mechanisms that support synapse-specific plasticity. view more

    Research Areas: synaptic plasticity, neurons, memory, learning, immediate early genes
  • Shanthini Sockanathan Laboratory

    Lab Website

    The Shanthini Sockanathan Laboratory uses the developing spinal cord as our major paradigm to d...efine the mechanisms that maintain an undifferentiated progenitor state and the molecular pathways that trigger their differentiation into neurons and glia. The major focus of the lab is the study of a new family of six-transmembrane proteins (6-TM GDEs) that play key roles in regulating neuronal and glial differentiation in the spinal cord. We recently discovered that the 6-TM GDEs release GPI-anchored proteins from the cell surface through cleavage of the GPI-anchor. This discovery identifies 6-TM GDEs as the first vertebrate membrane bound GPI-cleaving enzymes that work at the cell surface to regulate GPI-anchored protein function. Current work in the lab involves defining how the 6-TM GDEs regulate cellular signaling events that control neuronal and glial differentiation and function, with a major focus on how GDE dysfunction relates to the onset and progression of disease. To solve these questions, we use an integrated approach that includes in vivo models, imaging, molecular biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, genetics and behavior. view more

    Research Areas: glia, biochemistry, neurons, imaging, developmental biology, genomics, spinal cord, behavior, molecular biology
  • Ted Dawson Laboratory

    Lab Website
    Principal Investigator:
    Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D.
    Neurology

    The Ted Dawson Laboratory uses genetic, cell biological and biochemical approaches to explore t...he pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurologic disorders. We also investigate several discrete mechanisms involved in cell death, including the role of nitric oxide as an endogenous messenger, the function of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 and apoptosis inducing factor in cell death, and how endogenous cell survival mechanisms protect neurons from death. view more

    Research Areas: nitric oxide, neuronal signaling, genomics, pathogenesis, Parkinson's disease, cell death
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