Dr. Murray Blackmore, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, has received a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to explore a novel approach to treat spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries cause paralysis by disrupting cellular cables carrying signals from neurons in the brain to targets in the lower spinal cord. Remarkably, embryonic neurons have the ability to regrow axons after injury, but adult neurons do not. Blackmore is developing a gene therapy approach to boost the growth capacity of adult neurons in which to deliver genes that are normally present only in the embryo. Using rodent models of spinal cord injury, this project will test a combinatorial strategy in which multiple genes are delivered at the same time. Some genes will activate the internal metabolic machinery in adult neurons, and others will help the axons navigate the growth-inhibitory terrain of the injured spinal cord. By simultaneously addressing multiple constraints on axon extension, the aim is to more fully restore the missing growth potential of adult neurons and maximize recovery from spinal injury.
Dr. Behnam Ghasemzadeh, associate professor of biomedical sciences, received a $50,000 grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute to study the role of a new brain signaling mechanism involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The grant will support Ghasemzadeh’s research team to investigate novel drug development for this brain mechanism with the goal of providing more effective medications for human patients.
To read more about College of Health Sciences awards, grants and presentations, search Marquette’s interactive Compendium. Search by individual, department or college name.