Our research program broadly focuses on the roles of proteolysis in development, plasticity and pathogenesis within the CNS. We are currently studying the nature of proteolytic cascades which mediate the pathophysiology of CNS demyelinating disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), and those which contribute to secondary degenerative events following traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). We have uncovered a novel family of enzymes, the Kallikrein gene family, which appear to play key roles at the immune system-CNS interface. Our studies indicate that certain members of this gene family contribute significantly to key events mediating neurodegeneration. We are using animal model, biochemical and cell based systems to dissect the mechanism of action and regulation of this unique gene family in the developing, adult and aged brain and how deregulation of enzymatic cascades contributes to CNS injury. The primary objective of this work is to identify novel therapeutic targets which can be targeted to prevent pathogenesis and promote repair in the injured adult CNS.
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