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College of Veterinary Medicine Neuroscientist Advances Knowledge of Central Nervous System

Dr. Troy Ghashghaei, a neuroscientist with NC State University’s  Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research (CCMTR), leads a team that is investigating genes that are connected to new brain cell production as well as novel approaches to transplant these genes to control neuronal activity in the diseased or damaged areas of the brain.

Dr. Troy Ghashghaei's team is focused on discovering genes that are connected to new brain cell production and developing novel therapies to control neuronal activity in the diseased or damaged brain.

Disorders of the central nervous system, or CNS, affect 50 million Americans and cost the U.S. more than $400 billion annually. Morbidity associated with these disorders is due largely to the inability of the CNS to replace damaged, diseased, or aging tissue. In veterinary medicine, canine seizures account for a substantial number of neurological cases that cause uncontrollable behaviors and result in behavior problems. The common neuronal basis of  CNS problems in both people and pets is a perfect ground for CCMTR “One Medicine” research and the goal of discovering novel treatment strategies.

According to Dr. Ghashghaei, the majority of neurological problems will benefit from development of cell-based therapies.  Two such approaches are being studied in the Ghashghaei lab.  One therapy involves integrating new embryonic or reprogrammed neural stem cells into injured or diseased areas of the brain through new transplantation methods. The second therapy seeks to develop tools to modulate neuronal excitability in behaviorally deficient animals.

“The brain is a delicate structure,” says Dr. Ghashghaei, who is an assistant professor of neurobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s  Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences.  “If damaged or diseased, the outcome can be devastating and irreversible.  This susceptibility stems from the inability of the adult brain to repair itself, and currently there are no pharmaceutical or other therapeutic approaches to reverse damage or degeneration in the brain.

“We are excited to be in a position to develop novel strategies that will help companion animal and human patients suffering from neurological diseases or injuries,” Dr. Ghashghaei continues. “There is a great need for additional basic and veterinary researchers and increased financial support to ensure continued progress on this ‘One Medicine’ front that bridges basic science, discovery, and translational research to benefit animal and human neurological health.”

Further Reading: 

Researchers Identify Genetic Conductor for New Brain Cell Production

Researchers Advance Knowledge of Nervous System  

Journal of Visualized Experiments Profiles CVM Research Technique 

 

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