Slava Rom, PhD
1. Micro RNA and their role in blood brain barrier (BBB) function.
Alterations of BBB integrity during inflammation are critical events in brain injury/neurodegeneration, and strategies aiding in BBB restoration could improve neurological outcomes. This study will shed light on the mechanisms of the anti-inflammatory and BBB protective properties of miRNA, using the most relevant in vitro model, primary human BMVEC, and a novel in vivo model of neuroinflammation.
2. Leukocyte-endothelium interactions during neuroinflammation.
Increase in blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability occurs in a variety of neurological conditions and systemic inflammatory responses. BBB leakiness is seen in many disease states like multiple sclerosis, infectious encephalitis, vascular dementia, epilepsy, and stroke. In all these conditions leukocyte-endothelial interactions play important role. This project involves identification of possible targets to prevent leukocytes from adhesion to and crossing BBB.
3. Effects of drugs of abuse on endothelium.
Addictive stimulant has long lasting toxic effects on the central nervous system (CNS). Project involves different drugs of abuse such as cocaine and “bath salts”. Oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, blood- brain barrier (BBB) impairment and glial cell activation, all have been independently implicated in the mechanisms of “drugs” and HIV-1-associated neurotoxicity. This project investigates a novel concept of mechanistic commonality, i.e. drug-mediated oxidative stress exerts its cell-specific effects in astrocytes and endothelial cells aggravating injury caused by HIV-1 CNS infection and delineate therapeutic options for these targets using in vivo studies.