Neurotrauma and Repair Laboratory

The long term goals of the researchers at the Neurotrauma and Repair Laboratory, under the direction of Prof. Barclay Morrison III, are to understand the consequences of mechanical forces on the most complex system of the human body, the central nervous system, and to develop strategies to mitigate and perhaps repair post-traumatic injury. Their focus is predominately on traumatic brain injury and trying to discover the specific cellular, molecular, and metabolic effects of injury on the different types of brain cells: neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes, and most importantly, on their interaction. To this end, they apply their backgrounds in biomechanics, molecular biology, neuroscience, cellular physiology, image analysis, and instrumentation to 4 main areas of concentration:

    1. development of tolerance criteria to injury from cell death to protein activation
    2. elucidation of the role of the cytoskeleton in transferring tissue deformations to cells
    3. application of genomic and proteomic technologies to identify therapeutic targets
    4. exploration of the potential of tissue engineering to repair damaged tissue

To aide these efforts, an in vitro or tissue culture model of traumatic brain injury which allows for the precise and reproducible injury of cultured brain tissue has been developed. Collaborators Dr. Heather L. Cater and Dr. Lars E. Sundrstrom at Southampton University are currently using one of these models to study TBI.





An atomic force microscope was used to measure local material properties at the indicated sites within a living hippocampus. Significantly different regional properties were measured which have implications for traumatic brain injury.





A primary neuron stained for actin (red) and microtubules (green), highlighting the cytoskeleton organization which may play a role in post-traumatic pathology

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