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2015 Mid-year Neurological Research Round-up

2015 Mid-year Neurological Research Round-up

We’re excited to share snippets of groundbreaking research published in the last six months by our researchers at the Neurological Research Institute and the Cain Foundation Labs at Texas Children’s.

In 2010, Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine inaugurated the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI), a basic research facility committed to understanding the pathogenesis of devastating neurological diseases with the ultimate goal of developing treatments. NRI scientists are world leaders in neuroscience research and here are some of their latest discoveries:

  • An exciting study from Benjamin Deneen’s lab provides novel insights on how brain injuries in newborns can be repaired. They have identified a potential new target that can be used to develop treatments for patients suffering from many types of white matter injury, such as cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. Read the synopsis here.
  • A collaborative study from Mirjana Malatic-Savatic’s lab used animal models of epilepsy to demonstrate how seizures prevent formation of new neurons and offers new insights into potential therapeutic strategies for epileptic patients. Read a summary of this study here.
  • Hugo Bellen’s team has demonstrated how dysfunctional voltage-gated calcium channels may lead to certain neurodegenerative diseases like spinocerebellar ataxia or neurological conditions like migraines. Read the synopsis here.

The Gordon and Mary Cain Pediatric Neurology Research Foundation funds epilepsy research programs at the Cain Laboratories which are located within the NRI building. In January 2015, we launched a brand new website for the Cain Labs. This aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly website features detailed profiles of our labs, faculty and trainees, as well as synopses of important discoveries from the Cain Labs (Our Research) and elsewhere around the globe (Trends in Epilepsy Research). Here is a snapshot of some exciting research stories that were featured there:

  • A compelling study from a research team led by Anne Anderson, the medical director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Texas Children’s and associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor, demonstrates that lowering mTOR hyperactivity in adult animals, after brain circuitry has fully developed, is sufficient to stop seizures in an animal model of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. Read its synopsis here.
  • An interesting study published in the Annals of Neurology by Dr. Lennart Mucke’s team at the University of California at San Francisco’s Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease demonstrates that genetic ablation of tau in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome reverses most of the symptoms. Read more about it here.
Rajalaxmi Natarajan, Ph.D., Science Writer