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Co-culturing neural stem cells with explants of neurogenic regions facilitates research on neural stem cell interactions with neurogenic regions. Here, neural stem cells (green) are attracted to a cluster of blood vessels in the neurogenic subventricular zone.
When encouraged to differentiate toward a neuronal lineage, embryonic stem cells recapitulate the early stages of embryonic development. Here, proliferation of neural progenitors gave rise to a large number of neurons (red), prior to appearance of astrocytes (green).
Until recently, thymidine analogs were used to label stem cells for experimental implantation into the rodent brain. Results suggested extraordinary abilities of adult stem cells. However, a high percentage of cells typically die shortly after transplantation. Dr. Burns and colleagues found that thymidine analog (red) from dead cells can be recycled and incorporated into the DNA of live proliferating cells in the recipient brain, making them appear as transplanted cells. As such, this technique is now known to be unreliable.
Hippocampal neurogenesis is involved in learning and memory, but declines with age, brain radiation and neurodegeneration, suggesting a possible role for stem cell therapies in these diseases. Here, transplanted embryonic stem cell-derived cells (green) incorporate alongside other newly born doublecortin-expressing (red) neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus.
The subventricular zone (SVZ) is one of the major sources of adult-born neurons. Blood vessels in the SVZ help regulate the behavior of neural stem cells, providing an important vascular niche for neurogenesis. This image of a microdissected mouse SVZ stained with nestin (red), glial fibrillary acidic protein (blue) and laminin — a vascular basement membrane protein (green) — demonstrates the intricate vascular network in the SVZ.
The Mayo Clinic Regenerative Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology Lab studies therapies to enhance survival and quality of life for patients with neurological diseases or brain tumors.
Dr. Burns' laboratory team includes neurologic surgery researchers, informatics specialists, research coordinators, trainees and others working together to advance neurosurgery and neuro-oncology research.
Dr. Burns' research priorities include overcoming barriers to translation of neuroregenerative therapies and optimizing neurological and cognitive function of patients previously treated for brain tumors.
The Regenerative Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology Lab works with investigators from across Mayo Clinic and around the world to accelerate therapies for patients.
Interested in joining the Regenerative Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology Lab?
Dr. Burns has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on glioblastoma, brain tumors in adults and children, radiation-induced brain injury, epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases, and more.
Contact the Regenerative Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology Lab with questions about research or career opportunities.
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