House of Mind

"Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind" - Jeffrey Eugenides

  • 13th October
    2012
  • 13
Meet My Class: Due to the wide variety of topics in neuroscience and my specific interests, I have decided to introduce you to some of my fellow classmates at the NYU Sackler Institute. These people are all very bright and amazingly talented individuals who are very passionate about their work and are willing to share it with a broader audience- you!
First up in the Meet My Class series- Dave Marzan. Dave Marzan received his B.S. from University of California- San Diego (UCSD, one of the top neuroscience institutions in the country).  Dave and I met during NYU interviews a little over 3 years ago and have been friends ever since. He has an amazing attitude and his excitement regarding neuroscience is contagious. He is also part of the Society for Neuroscience Scholars Program (NSP). Needless to say, I feel very lucky to have him as a fellow classmate and he has happily accepted my invitation to write about his work. The image above was captured by him recently and was presented today at the NSP Diversity Poster session at SfN NOLA.
Here it goes, in Dave’s own words… 

Contrary to popular belief, the brain is not comprised of only neurons. 90% of central nervous system cells (CNS) are glia. One type of glia in the CNS, oligodendrocytes, form the wrapping around axons and support proper neuron function. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common cause of inflammatory neurological disability in young adults. Inflammation and autoimmune reactivity against the myelinating cells of the nervous system causes demyelination, axonal damage andneurodegeneration. The CNS is capable of spontaneous remyelination by stem cells and oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs).  However,remyelination significantly decreases with age; this failure of remyelination is thought to be a major contributor to MS progression.While there has been progress in slowing autoimmune mediated demyelination, there has been none in promoting regeneration and reversing disease progression.  Research in regenerative therapies has the potential to benefit the 400,000 MS patients in America as well as countless others suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.
     As a graduate student at NYU, I work in the lab of James Salzer,a leading expert in the genetic and cellular mechanisms governingmyelination. My project focuses on studying how the brain’s immunecells , microglia, contribute to the process of demyelination andremyelination in vivo. To this end, I employ a novel trangenic mouseline that allows for inducible deletion of microglia from the CNS. Iremove microglia at time points critical for developmental myelination, toxin induced demyelination and endogenous remyelination in order to study their function. Understanding how these immune cells contribute to degeneration and regeneration can provide insight into the pathophysiology of MS and in the development of regenerative therapies.     The image above is a immunofluorescent confocal projection taken from an adult mouse. The green cells are PDGFRα+ oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) migrating into the corpus callosum to differentiate into oligodendrocytes and form new myelin (red). Green OPCs are enriched in the corpus callosum because the mouse was placed on a demyelinating diet and these cells are migrating to site of injury to remyelinate. Blue is a nuclear hoechst stain that stains all cell types.

To visit the Salzer Lab page, click here. 

Meet My Class: Due to the wide variety of topics in neuroscience and my specific interests, I have decided to introduce you to some of my fellow classmates at the NYU Sackler Institute. These people are all very bright and amazingly talented individuals who are very passionate about their work and are willing to share it with a broader audience- you!

First up in the Meet My Class series- Dave Marzan. Dave Marzan received his B.S. from University of California- San Diego (UCSD, one of the top neuroscience institutions in the country).  Dave and I met during NYU interviews a little over 3 years ago and have been friends ever since. He has an amazing attitude and his excitement regarding neuroscience is contagious. He is also part of the Society for Neuroscience Scholars Program (NSP). Needless to say, I feel very lucky to have him as a fellow classmate and he has happily accepted my invitation to write about his work. The image above was captured by him recently and was presented today at the NSP Diversity Poster session at SfN NOLA.

Here it goes, in Dave’s own words… 

Contrary to popular belief, the brain is not comprised of only neurons. 90% of central nervous system cells (CNS) are glia. One type of glia in the CNS, oligodendrocytes, form the wrapping around axons and support proper neuron function. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common cause of inflammatory neurological disability in young adults. Inflammation and autoimmune reactivity against the myelinating cells of the nervous system causes demyelination, axonal damage andneurodegeneration. The CNS is capable of spontaneous remyelination by stem cells and oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs).  However,remyelination significantly decreases with age; this failure of remyelination is thought to be a major contributor to MS progression.While there has been progress in slowing autoimmune mediated demyelination, there has been none in promoting regeneration and reversing disease progression.  Research in regenerative therapies has the potential to benefit the 400,000 MS patients in America as well as countless others suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

     As a graduate student at NYU, I work in the lab of James Salzer,
a leading expert in the genetic and cellular mechanisms governing
myelination. My project focuses on studying how the brain’s immune
cells , microglia, contribute to the process of demyelination and
remyelination in vivo. To this end, I employ a novel trangenic mouse
line that allows for inducible deletion of microglia from the CNS. I
remove microglia at time points critical for developmental myelination, toxin induced demyelination and endogenous remyelination in order to study their function. Understanding how these immune cells contribute to degeneration and regeneration can provide insight into the pathophysiology of MS and in the development of regenerative therapies.

     The image above is a immunofluorescent confocal projection taken from an adult mouse. The green cells are PDGFRα+ oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) migrating into the corpus callosum to differentiate into oligodendrocytes and form new myelin (red). Green OPCs are enriched in the corpus callosum because the mouse was placed on a demyelinating diet and these cells are migrating to site of injury to remyelinate. Blue is a nuclear hoechst stain that stains all cell types.

To visit the Salzer Lab page, click here

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