Neuroinflammation is a rapidly expanding field that has revolutionized our understanding of acute and chronic neurological diseases and is currently considered a prime target for the development of new therapies. Neuroinflammation is the response of reactive CNS components to altered homeostasis, regardless of the cause to be endogenous or exogenous. Neurological diseases, whether traumatic, neoplastic, ischemic, metabolic, toxic, infectious, autoimmune, developmental, or degenerative, involve direct and indirect immune-related neuroinflammation. Mediators of inflammation include signals from local neuron-glia interactions as well as from recruited cells. Processes derived from extrinsic and intrinsic CNS diseases also elicit the CNS inflammatory response. A deeper understanding of neuron-glia interactions and immune-related inflammation in health and disease is necessary to find potential therapeutic targets for preventing or reducing CNS damage.
This thematic research column focuses on interactions of the immune system (and especially the innate immune system) with the nervous system. This includes the roles of CNS immune mediators (such as neurons, microglia, and astrocytes, and their expressed signaling molecules) as well as the roles of peripheral neuro-immune interactions, T cells, monocytes, complement proteins, acute phase proteins, oxidative injury, and related molecular processes.
Work within this research column provides opportunities to do preclinical and clinical research within this field with researchers from basic and clinical neuroscience, focusing on neuron-glia interactions in normal brain homeostasis and neuroinflammatory diseases.
Research opportunities include in vitro and in vivo models of neuron-glia interactions and/or neuroinflammation, studies on individuals with neurological diseases, as well as studies on postmortem tissue. A variety of different genetic, molecular, cellular biological, electrophysiological, biochemical, and pharmacological research techniques is used to answer hypothesis-driven scientific questions. By doing your lab rotations within our column, you should be able to formulate a translational PhD project in collaboration with two or more PIs in the column.