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  • Adam Sapirstein Lab

    Researchers in the Adam Sapirstein Lab focus on the roles played by phospholipases A2 and their lipid metabolites in brain injury. Using in vivo and in vitro models of stroke and excitotoxicity, the team is examining the roles of the cytosolic, Group V, and Group X PLA2s as well as the function of PLA2s in cerebrovascular regulation. Investigators have discovered that cPLA2 is necessary for the early electrophysiologic changes that happen in hippocampal CA1 neurons after exposure to N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA). This finding has critical ramifications in terms of the possible uses of selective cPLA2 inhibitors after acute neurologic injuries.

    Research Areas: phospholipases A2, brain, stroke, lipid metabolites, excitotoxicity, brain injury, neurological disorders

  • Brown Lab

    The Brown Lab is focused on the function of the cerebral cortex in the brain, which underlies our ability to interact with our environment through sensory perception and voluntary movement. Our research takes a bottom-up approach to understanding how the circuits of this massively interconnected network of neurons are functionally organized, and how dysfunction in these circuits contributes to neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism and schizophrenia. By combining electrophysiological and optogenetic approaches with anatomical and genetic techniques for identifying cell populations and pathways, the Brown Lab is defining the synaptic interactions among different classes of cortical neurons and determining how long-range and local inputs are integrated within cortical circuits. In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, corticospinal and spinal motor neurons progressively degenerate. The Brown Lab is examining how abnormal ...activity within cortical circuits contributes to the selective degeneration of corticospinal motor neurons in an effort to identify new mechanisms for treating this disease. Abnormalities in the organization of cortical circuits and synapses have been identified in genetic and anatomical studies of neuropsychiatric disease. We are interested in the impact these abnormalities have on cortical processing and their contribution to the disordered cognition typical of autism and schizophrenia. view less

    Research Areas: autism, neurodegenerative diseases, brain, electrophysiology, ALS, schizophrenia, cerebral cortex, optogenetics

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Solange Brown, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • C. David Mintz Lab

    Researchers in the C. David Mintz Lab seek to better understand the specific methods by which anesthesia can impair a patient’s brain development. Recent studies have investigated the ways in which anesthetics interfere with axon guidance in developing mouse neocortical neurons via a GABAA receptor mechanism, as well as the method by which anesthetics interfere with the polarization of developing cortical neurons.

    Research Areas: anesthesia, brain development, neurology

  • Christopher Potter Lab

    The Christopher Potter Lab functions at an intersection between systems and cellular neuroscience. We are interested in how neurons and circuits function in the brain to achieve a common goal (olfaction), but we also develop, utilize and build tools (molecular and genetic) that allow us to directly alter neuronal functions in a living organism. The specific focus of my laboratory is to understand how the insect brain receives, interprets, and responds to odors. Insects rely on their sense of smell for all major life choices, from foraging to mating, from choosing where to lay eggs to avoiding predators and dangers. We are interested in understanding at the neuronal level how odors regulate these behaviors. Our long-term aim is to apply this knowledge to better control insects that pose a threat to human health. Our general approach towards achieving this goal is to develop and employ new genetic methods that enable unprecedented control over neural circuits in both the model organism D...rosophila melanogaster and human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. view more

    Research Areas: neural circuits, neurons, brain, neuroscience, olfactory system

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Christopher Potter, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Cochlear Neurotransmission Group

    The Cochlear Neurotransmission Group studies the generation and propagation of neural signals in the inner ear. Our laboratories use biophysical, electrophysiological, molecular biological and histological methods to determine fundamental molecular mechanisms by which neurotransmitters are released from primary sensory cells ('hair cells') to excite second order neurons carrying information to the brain. We apply these same techniques to study inhibitory feedback produced by brain neurons that project to and regulate the sensitivity of the cochlea.

    Research Areas: vestibular disorders, neurotology/otology

  • Dong Laboratory

    The Dong Laboratory has identified many genes specifically expressed in primary sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Our lab uses multiple approaches, including molecular biology, mouse genetics, mouse behavior and electrophysiology, to study the function of these genes in pain and itch sensation. Other research in the lab examines the molecular mechanism of how skin mast cells sensitize sensory nerves under inflammatory states.

    Research Areas: skin cells, electrophysiology, genetics, itch, neuroscience, pain, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Xinzhong Dong, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Dwight Bergles Laboratory

    The Bergles Laboratory studies synaptic physiology, with an emphasis on glutamate transporters and glial involvement in neuronal signaling. We are interested in understanding the mechanisms by which neurons and glial cells interact to support normal communication in the nervous system. The lab studies glutamate transport physiology and function. Because glutamate transporters play a critical role in glutamate homeostasis, understanding the transporters' function is relevant to numerous neurological ailments, including stroke, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Other research in the laboratory focuses on signaling between neurons and glial cells at synapses. Understanding how neurons and cells communicate, may lead to new approaches for stimulating re-myelination following injury or disease. Additional research in the lab examines how a unique form of glia-to-neuron signaling in the cochlea influences auditory system development, whethe...r defects in cell communication lead to certain hereditary forms of hearing impairment, and if similar mechanisms are related to sound-induced tinnitus. view more

    Research Areas: epilepsy, synaptic physiology, ALS, stroke, neuronal signaling, glutamate transport physiology and function, audiology, neuroscience, neurology, nervous system, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Dwight Bergles, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Erwin Lab

    Schizophrenia, autism and other neurological disorders are caused by a complex interaction between inherited genetic risk and environmental experiences. The overarching goal of the group are to reveal molecular mechanisms of gene by environment interactions related to altered neural development and liability for brain disorders. Our research uses a hybrid of human stem cell models, post-mortem tissue and computational approaches to interrogate the contribution of epigenetic regulation and somatic mosaicism to brain diseases. Our previous work has demonstrated that the human brain exhibits extensive genetic variability between neurons within the same brain, termed "somatic mosaicism" due to mobile DNA elements which mediate large somatic DNA copy number variants. We study environment-responsive mechanisms and consequences for somatic mosaicism and are discovering the landscape of somatic mosaicism in the brain. We also study the epigenetic regulation of cell specification and activity-d...ependent states within the human dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex and striatum. view more

    Research Areas: autism, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, stem cells, Developmental Neuroscience, Neurobiology of Disease, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Models, Organoids, schizophrenia, genomics, Dystonia, Epigenomics

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Jennifer Erwin, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Fuchs Laboratory

    The Fuchs Laboratory uses cellular electrophysiology, immunolabeling and electron microscopy to study synaptic connections between sensory hair cells and neurons in the cochlea. One effort focuses on an unusual cholinergic receptor that mediates efferent inhibition of hair cells, driving discovery of the molecular mechanisms, and offering a target for protection against acoustic trauma. A second topic concerns the small number of unmyelinated "type II" afferent neurons whose synaptic connectivity and response properties argue for a role as the pathway for noxious (too loud) sound. Our studies are motivated by curiosity about fundamental mechanisms, and to provide a foundation for understanding cochlear pathogenesis.

    Research Areas: synaptic connections, immunolabeling, neurons, elecrophysiology, audiology, cellular electrophysiology, hearing loss, electron microscopy, cochlea, cochlear pathogensesis

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

    Principal Investigator

    Gabsang Lee, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Glowatzki Lab

    Research in the Glowatzki Lab focuses on the auditory system, with a particular focus on synaptic transmission in the inner ear.

    Our lab is using dendritic patch clamp recordings to examine mechanisms of synaptic transmission at this first, critical synapse in the auditory pathway. With this technique, we can diagnose the molecular mechanisms of transmitter release at uniquely high resolution (this is the sole input to each afferent neuron), and relate them directly to the rich knowledge base of auditory signaling by single afferent neurons.

    We study pre- and post-synaptic mechanisms that determine auditory nerve fiber properties. This approach will help to study general principles of synaptic transmission and specifically to identify the molecular substrates for inherited auditory neuropathies and other cochlear dysfunctions.

    Research Areas: synaptic transmission, auditory synapses, inner ear, neurotransmitters, inherited auditory neuropathy, cochlear dysfunctions, otolaryngology, audiology, neuroscience, sound

  • James Knierim Laboratory

    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 use...s this representation as the framework that organizes and stores memories of past events. view more

    Research Areas: cognition, place cells, memory, neurophysiology, hippocampus

    Principal Investigator

    James Knierim, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Kristina Nielsen Laboratory

    The Kristina Nielsen Laboratory investigates neural circuits in the visual cortex that are responsible for encoding objects to understand how the visual system performs object recognition. We aim to reveal the fine-scale organization of neural circuits, with an emphasis on higher-level visual areas. We use two-photon microscopy to perform high-resolution functional imaging of visual areas in the non-human primate. We also investigate how the function of higher visual areas changes over the course of brain development in ferrets, by measuring the activity of single neurons in these areas, as well as determining the animal's visual capabilities at various developmental stages. In both types of investigations, we also rely on detailed anatomical techniques to precisely observe how the function of neuronal circuits is related to their structure.

    Research Areas: neural circuits, neurons, imaging, vision, photon microscopy, object perception

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Kristina Nielsen, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Lee Martin Laboratory

    In the Lee Martin Laboratory, we are testing the hypothesis that selective vulnerability--the phenomenon 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, transmissi...on 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

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Lee Martin, Ph.D.

    Department

    Pathology

  • Machine Biointerface Lab

    Dr. Fridman's research group invents and develops bioelectronics for Neuroengineering and Medical 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.

    M...edical 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

    Our laboratory conducts basic and translational research aimed at better understanding the pathogenesis 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 preventi...ng 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

    Principal Investigator

    Michael Kornberg, M.D., M.S., Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • 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 beh...avior and physiology, metabolic heterogeneity and the evolution of metabolic adaptation. view more

    Research Areas: metabolic biochemistry, obesity, diabetes, genomics, neurology, nervous system, molecular biology

    Principal Investigator

    Michael J. Wolfgang, Ph.D.

    Department

    Biological Chemistry

  • Paul Worley Lab

    The Paul Worley Lab examines the molecular basis of learning and memory. In particular, we cloned 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.

    Research Areas: synaptic plasticity, neurons, memory, learning, immediate early genes

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Paul Worley, M.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Raymond Koehler Lab

    Research in the Raymond Koehler Lab explores cerebrovascular physiology and cerebral ischemic injury caused by stroke and cardiac arrest, using protein analysis, immunohistochemistry and histology. We also study ischemic preconditioning, neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and the mechanisms of abnormal cerebrovascular reactivity after ischemia. We 're examining ways to improve tissue oxygenation and seek to better understand the mechanisms that connect an increase in cerebral blood flow to neuronal activity.

    Research Areas: cardiac arrest, neurons, cerebrovascular, resuscitation, stroke, oxygen

  • Shanthini Sockanathan Laboratory

    The Shanthini Sockanathan Laboratory uses the developing spinal cord as our major paradigm to define 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 the...se 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

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Shanthini Sockanathan, D.Phil.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Solomon Snyder Laboratory

    Information processing in the brain reflects communication among neurons via neurotransmitters. The Solomon Snyder Laboratory studies diverse signaling systems including those of neurotransmitters and second messengers as well as the actions of drugs upon these processes. We are interested in atypical neurotransmitters such as nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), and the D-isomers of certain amino acids, specifically D-serine and D-aspartate. Our discoveries are leading to a better understanding of how certain drugs for Parkinson's disease and Hungtington's disease interact with cells and proteins. Understanding how other second messengers work is giving us insight into anti-cancer therapies.

    Research Areas: Huntington's disease, amino acids, neurotransmitters, brain, cancer, nitric oxide, drugs, carbon monoxide, Parkinson's disease, nervous system

  • Stewart Hendry Laboratory

    The Stewart Hendry Laboratory uses a strategy that exploits the unique molecular characteristics of neurons to understand how these streams are organized and the types of visual signals they carry. We identify those characteristics and then use them to study distinct neuronal populations in isolation. We use anatomical approaches to study the position of these neurons in the path of visual information transfer and the circuits whereby they accomplish an analysis and synthesis of information. Collaborative studies determine by optical imaging and electrophysiological methods the physiological properties of neuronal populations previously identified by their molecular characteristics. Such a strategy exploits the robust but selective expression of neuronal genes to address questions of visual system organization, function and plasticity across the primate order, including humans.

    Research Areas: neurons, imaging, electrophysiology, vision

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Stewart Hendry, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Ted Dawson Laboratory

    The Ted Dawson Laboratory uses genetic, cell biological and biochemical approaches to explore the 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.

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

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • The Nauen Lab

    Epilepsy affects 1-3% of the population and can have a profound impact on general health, employment and quality of life. Medial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) develops in some patients following head injury or repeated febrile seizures. Those affected may first suffer spontaneous seizures many years after the initial insult, indicating that the neural circuit undergoes a slow pathologic remodeling over the interim. There are currently no methods of preventing the development of MTLE. It is our goal to better understand the process in order to slow, halt, and ultimately reverse it.

    Our laboratory draws on electrophysiology, molecular biology, and morphology to study the contribution of dysregulated neurogenesis and newborn neuron connectivity to the development of MTLE. We build on basic research in stem cell biology, hippocampal development, and synaptic plasticity. We work closely with colleagues in the Institute for Cell Engineering, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Biomedical Engineering..., and Radiology. As physician neuropathologists our grounding is in tissue alterations underlying human neurologic disease; using human iPSC-derived neurons and surgical specimens we focus on the pathophysiological processes as they occur in patients.

    By understanding changes in cell populations and morphologies that affect the circuit, and identifying pathologic alterations in gene expression that lead to the cell-level abnormalities, we hope to find treatment targets that can prevent the remodeling and break the feedback loop of abnormal activity > circuit change > abnormal activity.
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    Research Areas: Medial temporal lobe epilepsy

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    David Nauen, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Pathology

  • Translational Neurobiology Laboratory

    The goals of the Translational neurobiology Laboratory are to understand the pathogenesis and cell death pathways in neurodegenerative disorders to reveal potential therapeutic targets for pharmaceutical intervention; to investigate endogenous survival pathways and try to induce these pathways to restore full function or replace lost neurons; and to identify biomarkers to mark disease function or replace lost neurons; and to identify biomarkers to mark disease progression and evaluate therapeutics. Our research projects focus on models of Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease. We use a combination of cell biology and transgenic animal models of these diseases.

    Research Areas: Huntington's disease, neurodegenerative disorders, neurobiology, cell biology, Parkinson's disease

  • Veit Stuphorn Laboratory

    The Veit Stuphorn Laboratory studies the neurophysiological mechanisms that underlie decision making and self-control. We record the activity of single neurons in awake animals that are engaged in decision-making processes. This allows us to identify the types of signals that neurons in specific parts of the brain represent and the computations they carry out. We also study human subjects in the same tasks with the help of fMRI. These parallel experiments provide comparative information about decision processes in human and non-human primates.

    Research Areas: neurophysiology, neuronal signaling, decision making

    Principal Investigator

    Veit Stuphorn, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neuroscience

  • Zhou Lab

    In the Zhou Lab, the overall goal of our research is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying development of the mammalian nervous system. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how neurons generate their complex morphology and form proper circuitries during development and how neurons regenerate to restore connections after brain or spinal cord injuries.

    Research Areas: orthopaedics, morphology, brain, spinal cord, neuroscience, nervous system

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Feng-Quan Zhou, Ph.D.

    Department

    Orthopaedic Surgery

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