MOLECULAR AND TRANSLATIONAL
Our Laboratory makes a concerted effort to develop a strong understanding of the developing nervous system AND human tissue samples as a means to understand human neurological disease and develop novel treatments. These are currently the areas of focus.
Turning Big Data into Cures
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are building a database of information that could one day help provide insight into neurological disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. By linking tissue samples from patients treated for neurological disorders at the University of Illinois Hospital to the patient’s clinical, radiological, electrical, histological and genetic information – researchers create troves of “big data” that can be stored and queried, yielding new findings about how disorders occur and how they might be treated. The samples and their linked data in the University of Illinois NeuroRepository provide unsurpassed value to the research community and have already led to the discovery of new epilepsy biomarkers and drug targets.
UIC Neuropsychiatric Institute Celebrates 75 Year Anniversary
This February the Neuropsychiatric Institute celebrates its 75th anniversary. The building was constructed to house adult and pediatric psychiatric patients as well as several operating rooms serving neurosurgical patients. Patients with various neurological disorders were seen by specialists there, and medical students and residents were able to watch cutting-edge neurological surgeries in a large surgical theater. Today the building is home to the UIC College of Medicine’s departments of neurology and rehabilitation and neurosurgery and the offices of psychiatry faculty members including those who see patients on-site.
ALS Research in the News
Dr. Jeffrey Loeb, the John S. Garvin Endowed Chair in Neurology and Rehabilitation in the UIC College of Medicine, is quoted in a Healthline article that reports on his recently-published research on ALS. Loeb and colleagues found that a nerve injury could trigger ALS-like symptoms in an animal model of the disease. “Our results show that a single nerve injury, which is small enough that it only causes temporary weakness in normal animals, can start a cascade of inflammation in the spinal cord that initiates and causes the disease to spread in genetically-susceptible animals,” said Loeb. “The ability to precipitate the disease through injury gives us a new animal model we can use to identify treatments for ALS that focus on stopping the spread of the disease after it first starts.”