Academics & Research

Immunology, Inflammation, & Infectious Disease (3i) Initiative

Neuroscience Bridge

Josh Bonkowsky, MD, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Pediatrics (Pediatric Neurology)

The Bonkowsky group uses a combination of bench and clinical research approaches to understand pediatric neurological disorders.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: Pediatric, leukodystrophy, epilepsy, Zebrafish, Hypoxia, Big data

Email:  Joshua.Bonkowsky@hsc.utah.edu

Mario Capecchi, PhD

Title:  Distinguished Professor - Human Genetics

Our laboratory is working on the interactions between the CNS and the immune system both in terms of maintaining homeostasis as well as, when aberrant, leading to pathology.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: microglia, gene targeting, hox genes, obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, mouse models

Email:  capecchi@genetics.utah.edu

Stacey Clardy, MD, PhD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Neurology

Research focuses on the epidemiology and pathophysiology of autoimmune neurologic disorders (neural autoantibody mediated) and immune-mediated neurologic disorders, including autoimmune encephalitis and paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes, stiffperson syndrome, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, neurosarcoidosis and CVID-associated granulomatous Disease and associated neurologic complications of CVID.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: autoimmune neurology, neuroimmunology, paraneoplastic, encephalitis, neuromyelitis optica, CVID (common variable immunodeficiency)

Email:  Stacey.Clardy@hsc.utah.edu

Donna Cross, PhD

Title:  Research Associate Professor - Radiology and Imaging Sciences

The Neuroimaging and Biotechnology Lab (NiBL) uses imaging technologies to develop new diagnostics and therapeutic options for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, as well as traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Therapies to support processes such as neuroinflammation, axonal transport and cytoskeletal stabilization are a focus. Other projects include the investigation and optimization of delivery methods for cancer immunotherapies.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: MRI, PET, focused ultrasound, Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, theranostics

Email:  D.Cross@utah.edu

Richard Dorsky, PhD

Title:  Professor - Neurobiology and Anatomy

The Dorsky laboratory studies the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in CNS neurogenesis. We use zebrafish as a model organism, focusing on the regulation of Wnt target genes in the CNS by Tcf transcription factors. Our current work focuses on neurogenesis in the spinal cord and the hypothalamus, addressing three important questions.

1) Which cells require Wnt/Tcf signaling?
2) What are the molecular targets of Tcf proteins?
3) How does Wnt/Tcf-dependent neurogenesis contribute to physiology and behavior?

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: Wnt signaling, zebrafish, developmental neurobiology, spinal cord injury, hypothalmus

Email:  richard.dorsky@neuro.utah.edu

Robert Fujinami, PhD

Title:  Professor - Pathology

Viral infections of the central nervous system often result in encephalitis which is a risk factor for epilepsy. My lab has developed a new “hit and run” model to study virus-induced epilepsy where a virus infection alters central nervous system connectivity, the virus is cleared by the immune response and epilepsy occurs after the virus is gone. This has opened up how we think about epilepsy.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: demyelinating disease, virus-induced autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, viral pathogenesis, seizures, epilepsy

Email:  robert.fujinami@hsc.utah.edu

John Greenlee, MD

Title:  Professor - Neurology

My research is in the area of autoimmune and paraneoplastic neurological disease. Studies involve use of organotypic slice cultures and animal models to study human autoimmune neurological disease.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: autoimmune neurology, paraneoplastic neurological syndromes, paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, organotypic brain cultures, autoantibodies, animal models

Email:  john.greenlee@hsc.utah.edu

Christopher Gregg, PhD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Neurobiology and Anatomy

Discovering how epigenetic mechanisms shape behavior and disease

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: epigenetics, genomics, brain disease, mental health, machine learning, CRISPR gene editing

Email:  chris.gregg@neuro.utah.edu

Satoshi Minoshima, MD, PhD

Title:  Professor - Radiology and Imaging Sciences

In vivo animal and human imaging of immune cells and inflammation.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: imaging, PET, MRI, immune cells, inflammation

Email:  sminoshima@hsc.utah.edu

Kathryn Morton, MD

Title:  Professor - Radiology and Imaging Sciences

Causes and consequences of sepsis-induced neuroinflammation.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: positron emission tomography, sepsis, neuroinflammation, amyloid beta

Email:  Kathryn.Morton@hsc.utah.edu

Stefan Pulst, MD

Title:  Professor - Neurology

We are investigating the mechanisms of adult-onset neurodegeneration. Our studies usually begin with genetic analysis of human pedigrees followed by modeling the disease process in cultured cells or by introducing mutations into model systems. Our focus has been on the spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA2, SCA10, SCA13) and inherited forms of Parkinson disease, groups of diseases that lead to cell-type specific neurodegeneration.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: neurodegeneration, human pedigrees, spinocerebellar ataxias

Email:  stefan.pulst@hsc.utah.edu

John Rose, MD

Title:  Professor - Neurology

Dr. Rose and his colleagues investigate diverse aspects of multiple sclerosis (MS), including the immunopathology of MS and related models, the development of new treatments for MS, early disease detection with advanced magnetic resonance imaging, and the detection of susceptibility genes for MS.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: multiple sclerosis, neurology, MRI

Email:  rose@neuro.med.utah.edu

Jason Shepherd, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Neurobiology and Anatomy

The goal of our research is to understand information storage, from the molecular level through in vivo neuronal networks and how these processes go awry in neurological disorders. My lab utilizes coordinated biochemical, cell biological, electrophysiological and imaging studies both in vitro and in vivo. We recently discovered a novel mechanism of neuronal communication that resembles the life-cycle of retroviruses

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: neurodegenerative diseases, neurodevelopmental disorders, synaptic transmission. synaptic membranes, synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, receptor trafficking, Immediate-Early Proteins, endocytosis, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Angelman Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Alzheimer's Disease

Email:  jason.shepherd@neuro.utah.edu

Monica Vetter, PhD

Title:  Professor - Neurobiology and Anatomy

Microglia are dynamic remodelers of the central nervous system in both health and disease. Our research is focused on understanding the roles of microglia during development of the retina, as well as during retinal neurodegeneration. We are particularly focused on using transcriptome analysis to identify shared molecular pathways that regulate the function of microglia in these diverse contexts.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: microglia, development, neurodegeneration, retina

Email:  monica.vetter@neuro.utah.edu

Karen Wilcox, PhD

Title:  Professor - Pharmacology and Toxicology

Dr. Wilcox's areas of research interests include basic mechanisms of pharmacoresistant epilepsy, the role of inflammation in circuit function, seizure generation, and epileptogenesis, and the mechanism of action of anti-seizure drugs

3i Bridge/Pillar: Neuroscience

Keywords: neuroinflammation, epilepsy, antiseizure drug development, glial cells

Email:  karen.wilcox@hsc.utah.edu