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How do we see, hear, and think? More specifically, how can we study living people to understand how the brain sees, hears, and thinks? Recently, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a powerful anatomical imaging technique widely used for clinical diagnosis, was further developed into a tool for probing brain function. By sensitizing magnetic resonance images to the changes in blood oxygenation that occur when regions of the brain are highly active, we can make "movies" that reveal the brain at work. Dr. Pekar works on the development and application of this MRI technology.
Dr. Pekar is a biophysicist who uses a variety of magnetic resonance techniques to study brain physiology and function. Dr. Pekar serves as Manager of the F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging, a research resource where imaging scientists and neuroscientists collaborate to study brain function using unique state-of-the-art techniques in a safe comfortable environment, to further develop such techni...ques, and to provide training and education. Dr. Pekar works with center staff to serve the center's users and to keep the center on the leading edge of technology.
Joel Pomerantz Laboratory
The Pomerantz Laboratory studies the molecular machinery used by cells to interpret extracellular signals and transduce them to the nucleus to affect changes in gene expression. The accurate response to extracellular signals results in a cell's decision to proliferate, differentiate or die, and it's critical for normal development and physiology. The dysregulation of this machinery underlies the unwarranted expansion or destruction of cell numbers that occurs in human diseases like cancer, autoimmunity, hyperinflammatory states and neurodegenerative disease.
Current studies in the lab focus on signaling pathways that are important in innate immunity, adaptive immunity and cancer, with particular focus on pathways that regulate the activity of the pleiotropic transcription factor NF-kB.
The Lamichhane Lab strives to understand the fundamental mechanisms used by Mycobacterium tuberculosis to survive, grow and cause disease. Although our lab uses genetic and biochemical approaches to study this organism, we pursue questions irrespective of the expertise required to answer those questions. We work to identify the essential components of the peptidoglycan layer and how the physiology of this layer is maintained. We also explore what non-coding RNAs exist in M. tuberculosis and investigate what their relevance is to the physiology and virulence of this pathogen.
Research in the Mark Donowitz Lab is primarily focused on the development of drug therapy for diarrheal disorders, intestinal salt absorption and the proteins involved including their regulation, and the use of human enteroids to understand intestinal physiology and pathophysiology. We study two gene families initially recognized by this laboratory: mammalian Na/H exchangers and the subgroup of PDZ domain containing proteins present in the brush border of epithelial cells called NHERF family. A major finding is that NHE3 exists simultaneously in different sized complexes in the brush border, which change separately as part of signal transduction initiated by mimics of the digestive process. Relevance to the human intestine is being pursued using mini-human intestine made from Lgr5+ stems cells made from intestinal biopsies and measuring function via two-photon microscopy.
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 less
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 h...elp fund various projects. view more
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
Nicholas Dalesio Lab
Research in the Nicholas Dalesio Lab is currently examining pre-surgical predictors of post-surgical respiratory complications in children with obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing; the impact of anesthesia and pharmacological agents on upper airway physiology; and techniques for pediatric airway imaging.
Our research is directed toward how the brain controls the movements of the eyes (including eye movements induced by head motion) using studies in normal human beings, patients and experimental animals. The focus is on mechanisms underlying adaptive ocular motor control. More specifically, what are mechanisms by which the brain learns to cope with the changes associated with normal development and aging as well as the damage associated with disease and trauma? How does the brain keep its eye movement reflexes properly calibrated? Our research strategy is to make accurate, quantitative measures of eye movements in response to precisely controlled stimuli and then use the analytical techniques of the control systems engineer to interpret the findings.
Research areas: 1) learning and compensation for vestibular disturbances that occur either within the labyrinth or more centrally within the brain, 2) the mechanisms by which the brain maintains correct alignment of the eyes to prevent d...iplopia and strabismus, and 3) the role of ocular proprioception in localizing objects in space for accurate eye-hand coordination.
The O’Rourke Lab uses an integrated approach to study the biophysics and physiology of cardiac cells in normal and diseased states.
Research in our lab has incorporated mitochondrial energetics, Ca2+ dynamics, and electrophysiology to provide tools for studying how defective function of one component of the cell can lead to catastrophic effects on whole cell and whole organ function. By understanding the links between Ca2+, electrical excitability and energy production, we hope to understand the cellular basis of cardiac arrhythmias, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and sudden death.
We use state-of-the-art techniques, including single-channel and whole-cell patch clamp, microfluorimetry, conventional and two-photon fluorescence imaging, and molecular biology to study the structure and function of single proteins to the intact muscle. Experimental results are compared with simulations of computational models in order to understand the findings in the context of the system as a whole....
Ongoing studies in our lab are focused on identifying the specific molecular targets modified by oxidative or ischemic stress and how they affect mitochondrial and whole heart function.
The motivation for all of the work is to understand
• how the molecular details of the heart cell work together to maintain function and
• how the synchronization of the parts can go wrong
Rational strategies can then be devised to correct dysfunction during the progression of disease through a comprehensive understanding of basic mechanisms.
Brian O’Rourke, PhD, is a professor in the Division of Cardiology and Vice Chair of Basic and Translational Research, Department of Medicine, at the Johns Hopkins University. view more