Laboratory of Traumatic Brain Injury

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Traumatic brain injury (also known as TBI) is a significant health concern worldwide. Every year, an estimated 1.4 million people in the United States sustain TBI, and more than 5 million people are coping with disabilities from TBI at an annual cost of more than $56 billion. In addition, TBI is a risk factor for Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s diseases. No effective pharmacological treatments are currently available for TBI. Developing effective therapeutic treatments for TBI is essential.

Our primary focus has been cell-based therapies for TBI using bone marrow stromal cells and we are one of the pioneers in this field. Our ongoing proposal is a major advance in this direction where we are combining cell based therapy with tissue engineering using collagen implants to optimize the treatment of TBI. In addition, damage to the brain affects all cell populations including neurons, glia, and vascular elements. Neuroprotective strategies targeting a single injury mechanism or neurons alone may not result in optimal benefits. Pleiotropic or combinatorial agents that act on multiple pathways provide therapeutic potentials to reduce brain damage and to enhance endogenous neurorestoration after TBI, with a final goal of improving functional outcome after brain injury. Neurorestorative strategies are unique in that they act on intact parenchymal cells to stimulate endogenous neurorestorative processes including neurogenesis, angiogenesis, axonal sprouting, oligodendrogenesis, and synaptogenesis to promote functional recovery. We also focus on cell and pharmacological therapies with neurorestorative effects. Our TBI research projects have been funded five times by NIH (4 R01s and 1 P01). We are trying to develop new therapies to promote neural repair and improve functional recovery after TBI.