Brain Research Institute
Morphological, behavioural and electrophysiological studies of nerve fiber regeneration and plasticity after spinal cord and brain injury. Molecular and biochemical analysis of the myelin-associated inhibitory protein Nogo (NI-220) and the related protein family (Nerve outgrowth, regeneration, plasticity, spinal cord and brain injury, myelin, neurite growth inhibitory activity).
1 professor, 1 scientific coordinator, 1 secretary, 1 senior research fellow, 1 postdoctoral fellow, 3 MD-PhD students, 16 PhD students, 6 technicians, 4 Master students
Growth and regeneration in the CNS are influenced by many different signalling molecules. These molecules can either be growth promoting or growth inhibiting. Several years ago our group discovered an important nerve growth inhibiting molecule. This myelin protein has been purified and its cDNA was cloned. It belongs to a new family of membrane proteins (Nogo-family) with 80% identity between rat, bovine and human. Neutralizing monoclonal antibodies have been raised; their in vivo application after spinal cord or brain trauma in rats leads to outgrowth and regeneration of injured nerve fibers and to a high degree of functional recovery. Nerve fiber tracts that are not directly affected by the injury can also sprout after treatment with inhibitor-neutralising antibodies.
In vivo studies in animal models of spinal cord and brain injury on regeneration and plasticity after treatment with inhibitor-neutralising antibodies or training looking at different fiber tracts and at the formation of functional synapses. In situ and immunohistochemistry to elucidate the tissue distribution of the Nogo proteins. Characterisation of signalling partners for the Nogo proteins. Analysis of new additional functions for Nogo during development and in the adult nervous system.
Animal surgery, animal behaviour, axonal tracing, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, electrophysiology and behavior. Protein purification and characterization. Current molecular biological techniques.
Swiss National Science Foundation, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (CDRF), EU FP7 PLASTICISE, EU FP7 Spinal Cord Repair, EU FP7 ARISE, EU FP7 AXREGEN, Internationale Stiftung für Forschung in Paraplegie (IRP)
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