Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research (ISD)
A fundamental challenge in modern science is to understand how the brain functions in health and disease. Despite growing incidences of neurodegenerative diseases, we still lack basic understanding of mechanisms leading to chronic neurodegeneration in the brain. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) –which can occur due to sports, traffic accidents, falls and violence-, is a major cause of death and disability in children and young adults especially in developed countries. People surviving after TBI often suffer from long term consequences due to chronic neurodegeneration –trigged by initial trauma–, which can lead to neuropsychiatric problems as well as early onset of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. We are interested in understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to chronic neurodegeneration after traumatic brain injury using novel approaches. To this end, we utilize recently developed state-of-the-art techniques including 3D imaging of entire cleared brains –developed by us-, rabies virus tracing of neuronal networks, optogenetics and in vivo 2-photon imaging. Our overall goal is to determine molecular players that can be targeted (genetically or pharmacologically) to develop novel ways to halt chronic neurodegeneration after TBI.
Primary Technique(s): neuroscience, neurodegeneration, brain mapping, tissue clearing, light-sheet microscopy, 3DISCO, CLARITY/PACT, optogenetics, confocal microscopy, in vivo imaging, 2-photon microscopy, traumatic brain injury, primary neuronal culture, organotypic brain slice culture, live imaging of cultured cells, histology, motor and learning & memory behavior tasks, molecular and cell biology techniques, mouse genetics
Images: Neurons in the entire mouse brain (left); axonal connections in the unsectioned mouse spinal cord (right).
More information can be found in our previous publications: Erturk et al. 2012, Nature Medicine, Erturk at al. Nature Protocols and Erturk et al. 2014 Journal of Neuroscience.
Model Organism(s): mice, rats