Overview

Our research program is focused on the role of the immune system in the injury of axons and neurons within the central nervous system (CNS). We study the effects of acute CNS infection with the Theiler's picornavirus in an effort to understand the interaction of both innate (neutrophils and natural killer cells) and adaptive (CD8+ and CD4+ T cells) immune effectors with infected or stressed neurons. We also use the Theiler's virus as a model for chronic demyelination of the spinal cord and as a tool for studying the role of innate and adaptive immune effectors in the axon injury that occurs consequent to demyelination. Our work has relevance to the prevention and control of CNS viral infections and to the prevention or alleviation of functional disability associated with demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). As a basic science lab, we are primarily interested in understanding how the immune system invades, attacks, and injures neurons and axons. As a translational science lab, we are primarily interested in the design and discovery of novel mechanisms for preventing or ameliorating the loss of neurological function that is currently an inevitable and irreversible consequence of demyelination.