The Brain Regenerative Discovery fund grants $200,000 over two years to a Canadian scientist conducting innovative research in stem cell and regenerative medicine with a focus on the brain.
Project: Discovering the genetic regulators of human central nervous system (CNS) axon regeneration
Investigator: Yun Li
Co-Investigator: Julien Muffat
Institute: Hospital for Sick Children
Award Value: $200,000 (over 2 years)
Using human stem cells, Drs. Li, Muffat and their teams are building neurons in a dish and then looking for factors which block axon regeneration after injury.
In humans, damaged axons do not readily regenerate. This is why it is so hard for people to recover from brain and spinal cord injuries, and why neurodegenerative conditions (at this time) have an irreversible and progressive course.
Scientists have recently observed that something intrinsic exists to block neurons from re-growing their axons after injury; Drs. Li and Muffat’s mission is to find out what that ‘something’ is. Using cutting-edge technologies, Drs. Li, Muffat and their teams will conduct an unbiased genome-wide ‘search’ for the key signal(s) blocking axon regeneration.
If successful, their research will lead to novel therapeutic targets, which could apply to a wide spectrum of previously untreatable diseases of the central nervous system, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury.