Ph.D., 1991, Virginia Commonwealth University
B.S., 1985 Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, University of Madras
The spectrum of traumatic brain injuries ranges from mild concussions that are treated in the emergency room, to severe head injuries that require acute critical and neurosurgical care. Survivors of brain injuries suffer long-term behavioral problems such as learning deficits, memory dysfunction, psychological and emotional disturbances. The economic costs of traumatic brain injuries, which include hospitalization, health care and lost work hours, is estimated at almost 35 billion dollars. This problem has become particularly relevant in the past 4 years, with the Iraq war veterans returning home having suffered blast-related concussions. The ongoing research efforts, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Dept of Veteran’s Affairs, are aimed at addressing the feasibility of cellular and pharmacologic strategies to attenuate and reverse TBI pathology.
The mission of the Brain Injury Laboratories is to develop pharmacological treatment and behaviorally therapeutic strategies to respectively, reduce acute post-traumatic neural damage and augment behavioral recovery in the chronic phase.
We currently use models of Focal or Diffuse brain trauma in rodents.
Behavioral measures include: cognitive function using the Morris water maze, motor function using the Schallert Cylinder test of limb placement, the Feeney beam walk test. In addition, standard outcome measures include measurement of compound action potentials in the corpus callosum using ex vivo preparations of uninjured and injured coronal brain slices. Histological techniques include gross alterations using Nissl-Luxol Fast Blue stained sections followed by quantification of lesions; microscopic evidence of cell survival using unbiased stereology with the optical fractionator; stereologic approaches to counting double-labeled axonal profiles with confocal microscopy; optical imaging in live animals; cryoplane microscopy for imaging from the micro- to the macro-scale.