research >> overview | projects | publications
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Our main project is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the famous baseball player who died from it. ALS is a devastating, paralyzing, and ultimately fatal motoneuron disease (a disease that kills the nerves required for muscle function) for which there currently is no cure. The primary goals of my current research projects are to evaluate the underlying pathophysiology, mechanisms, progression of ALS and, moreover, to identify the most promising treatment strategies. We are investigating three aspects of ALS: 1) identification of clinical predictors in ALS patients; 2) prediction of underlying ALS causes/contributors using dynamic meta-analysis of the G93A superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) transgenic mouse model of ALS; and 3) investigation of compromised motoneuron cellular function using mechanistic computational modeling of axonal transport and neuroelectrophysiology.
Spinal Cord Injury
Our investigation of secondary spinal cord injury (a cascading series of cellular processes following spinal injury or trauma), has helped to redefine our understanding of SCI and its potential treatment. We are using relational data analysis techniques and computer simulation to investigate potential novel therapeutic strategies and combination treatments.
Computational modeling tools and data analysis
Predictive medicine using computer simulation relies on our ability to translate biology into math. We are continually developing new tools and techniques to extract complex data, find relationships, and make predictions. Some of the key tools we have developed include dynamic meta-analysis, relational modeling, and relational analysis.
Our ability to simulate disease and injury often relies on the ability to simulate the “normal” physiology. Some of the previous physiological systems we have and/or continue to investigate include axonal transport, motoneuron neuroelectrophysiology, and synaptic neurotransmitter spillover.