My research interests focus on the role of microglia in normal and pathological states.
Microglia are the resident immune cells of the CNS and are activated in almost every situation involving an insult to the CNS including, but not limited to:
Traumatic brain and spinal cord injury
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
However, whether microglia play a protective or deleterious role in these pathological states is widely debated. Moreover, the role of microglia in normal brain function, during brain development, or aging is poorly understood.
While microglia share a common lineage with macrophages during development, the population or turnover of microglia in the adult is not known. Additionally, there are no molecular or cell surface markers that distinguish microglia from peripheral macrophages or that differentiate microglia between different brain regions (e.g. cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, etc).
Our lab seeks to answer these questions with biochemical and molecular techniques using a variety of mouse genetic models. We also explore the role of microglia in models of neurodegenerative disease and tumorigenesis.