Hope Center laboratories study a range of nervous system diseases with the common feature of neurodegeneration or death of nerve cells. These include chronic or degenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease as well as acute conditions such as stroke, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injury. Advances in basic and applied neuroscience offer new hope for discovery of effective therapies for many of these conditions. The Center builds upon the idea that scientific principles of nervous system degeneration and repair are shared by many different neurological diseases. This vision has led to creation of a multi-departmental research environment that fosters outstanding interdisciplinary collaboration. To promote translational research, the Center encourages collaboration among investigators who study questions of basic biology and those who focus on mechanisms of disease, promotes cutting-edge research through pilot project awards, and provides access to core resources and animal models. With this approach, we aim to leverage scientific findings and expedite the process of translating findings to development of therapies and diagnostic tools.
Patients and family members affected by brain and spinal cord disorders suffer devastating disability and personal loss. Until cures are found, it is important to identify treatments which can offer meaningful improvements in neurological abilities and quality of life. Hope Center investigators share these goals and are working on the underlying mechanisms that will identify paths to restoration and recovery of function. Developing new treatments requires understanding of mechanisms of brain injury and degeneration, and application of basic neuroscience of nervous system development, molecular biology, cellular function and neural systems. Recovery strategies may include behavioral, drug, gene, and transplantation therapies which enhance normal brain plasticity or create novel repair mechanisms. Scientific approaches used in the Hope Center include cellular and developmental neuroscience, genetics, behavior, molecular biology, microscopy and imaging.