Neuroscience represents one of the most fascinating and complex research areas. In terms of basic sciences, Neuroscience is one of the last remaining major frontiers in science. Clinically, neurodegenerative diseases represent a major frontier in that these diseases are among the most devastating and intractable of diseases.
Neurodevelopment and neurosignaling: A central question in Neuroscience relates to how the genome and experience interact to generate a structure as complex as the brain. Another major question is how the molecular and cellular structure of the brain underlies brain function and brain dysfunction. For example, in a variety of brain and psychiatric disorders (e.g., epilepsy, ischemia, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia), specific neurotransmitter signaling systems appear to be dysfunctional. Neuroscientists at UNMC also use a variety of genetic, electrophysiological, anatomical, molecular, and biochemical techniques to understand these questions.
- Neural crest stem cell differentiation and migration
- The role of neurotransmitters in brain development
- Developmental changes in antidepressant effectiveness
- Regulation of neural stem cells
- Developmental regulation of neurotransmitter systems in the brain
- Regulation of neurotransmitter release
- Glial cell regulation of neuronal activity
- Regulation of synaptic transmission
- Mechanisms of receptor trafficking to and from the cell surface
Neurovirology and neurodegeneration: Researchers at the Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Diseases focus on the role of the immune system in neurological diseases and in neural complications of AIDS infection. Inflammation is a major mechanism in which the brain responds to a variety of injuries. Whether it be AIDS or Alzheimer's disease (AD), the neurons are not always directly destroyed. Disease can occur indirectly through glia (supportive cells of the brain) by setting off a chain of biochemical events that produce toxins and inflammation that can compromise neuronal cell signaling and ultimately destroy neurons. Overall, UNMC researchers use a wide diversity of techniques and experimental approaches to solve these questions.
- Identification of cytokines and chemokines responsible for neuronal damage
- The role of macrophages in AIDS dementia
- The role of macrophages in Parkinson's disease
- Neurotrophic activities of inflammatory products