Our Research Focus

Biological stress response pathways (such as wound healing and tissue repair, ischemic preconditioning, and heat shock response) play a critical role in the prevention and/or repair of cell and tissue injury; consequently, there is a lot of interest in harnessing the power of these pathways to combat disease and extend life. However, unchecked activation of stress response pathways over long periods of time can be harmful, resulting in disease and even premature death; since the optimal level of activity for each pathway differs among organs and even individual cell types, it is critical to elucidate how stress response pathways are regulated and what their downstream effects are in various tissues. The long term goal of our laboratory is to elucidate how activation of stress response signaling in the brain and skeletal muscle contributes to neurologic health and disease. Specifically, we use a combination of different experimental approaches (molecular and cell biology, immunohistochemistry, biochemistry, and electrophysiology) in human tissue and animal / cellular models of disease to investigate three distinct but related stress response pathways: (1) the Keap1/Nrf2 antioxidant pathway; (2) autophagy; and (3) astrocyte activation.

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