Neurodegenerative diseases currently afflict over 7 million people in the United States alone. This number is projected to rise to 19 million by the year 2050. By the time neurodegenerative diseases are diagnosed, a large percentage of neurons has already been lost, thus in order to better treat these devastating illnesses we first need to elucidate the biology underlying disease initiation and progression.
We study the early pathophysiology of neurodegeneration in an effort to better understand the pre-symptomatic disease biology preceding neuronal death. We address these questions using mouse models of neurodegeneration in which disease onset and progression is stereotyped and in which one can predict which neurons will degenerate and thus study their pre-symptomatic biology.
Our current focus is on the role of neuronal injury responses in neurodegenerative disease. We study these injury responses both in the context of acute nerve injury as well as in the chronic setting of neurodegenerative disease.