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2020 State of the Neurological Institute The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Your support of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Neurological Institute (NI) is greatly appreciated. We would like to follow up on the 2020 State of the Neurological Institute presentation with a few highlights from our departments. As always, you can view the latest information about the NI at wexnermedical.osu.edu/neurological-institute.

Department of Neurology

Regenerating Damaged Nerves

Research from the NI's Segal Lab provides new hope for recovery from degenerative neurological diseases — such as ALS and multiple sclerosis — as well as from damage caused by traumatic brain and spine injuries and stroke. Researchers examined a novel type of immune cell that not only prevents further damage of the central nervous system, but also reverses damage and restores function.

Photo: Dr. Benjamin Segal (left) and Dr. Andrew Sas examine the properties of a newly-discovered cell in a lab at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The 3D visual above shows a nerve that sustained a traumatic crush injury and then was injected with regenerative neutrophils. The nerves were then injected with a fluorescent tracer that labels regenerating axons growing from the injury site.

Learn more: go.osu.edu/segallab

Department of Neuroscience

Research Into the Long-term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain injury negatively influences both life-span and health-span and has far-reaching effects on survivors and their caregivers.

Researchers at the Godbout Laboratory are examining the long-term consequences of brain injury, with a focus on inflammatory processes that persist in the brain and impair brain homeostasis.

Did you know?

5 million Americans are living with serious long-term traumatic brain injury (TBI) related deficits.
75-70% of TBI patients continue to have secondary cognitive and behavioral complications after TBI.

Godbout Lab

Clockwise from left: Dr. Godbout, a fluid percussion injury device, and a pre-COVID gathering of the Godbout Lab team

Learn more: godboutlaboratory.com

Department of Neurosurgery

Finding new treatments for Parkinson’s disease

In collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, researchers at the Department of Neurosurgery are working to use a recently “Nobel” awarded CRISPR technology (“genetic scissors”) for editing defective genes in the brain. With a combination of advanced neurosurgical delivery and novel nanoparticles formulations to delete malfunctioning genes, we hope to be able to use this approach in a large number of incurable brain diseases, such as Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, that are caused by the over-expression (overproduction) of pathogenic proteins.

The current animal models of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are imperfect and perhaps that is why it is so difficult to design successful treatments for this debilitating disease. We are working to create a new PD mouse model (with deleted B4galnt1 gene) that would represent a true pathophysiological model of PD, the most faithful recapitulation of the human disease yet seen in an animal model. The pilot experiments have already shown a truly disease-modifying strategy of gene therapy.

Dr. Krystof Bankiewicz

Learn more: go.osu.edu/neurosurgery-research

The Connection Between Obesity, Diabetes, Aging and the Nervous System

More than just fat cells: The Townsend Laboratory is learning more about the diversity, maintenance and function of adipose tissue nerves
The Townsend Laboratory for Neurobiology and Energy Balance is engaged in the full spectrum of biomedical research – from basic science unraveling physiological processes, to translational projects moving their way to human patients. We are exploring how the plasticity, or remodeling, of the brain and peripheral nerves impacts metabolic health, with the goal of preventing or reversing conditions like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease – including with aging.

Townsend Lab

From left to right: Dr. Kristy Townsend; Research Associate Jake Willows, MS, in the Townsend Lab

Learn more: ktownsendlab.com

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Recovery and Resilience

In the above video, Dr. Craig Bryan explains how his experiences working with members of the military changed the way he approaches mental healthcare.

Suicide researchers have traditionally been guided by the question, “Why do people die by suicide?” Our research is guided by a somewhat different question: “What keeps people alive when they want to die?” This subtle but important shift in focus has been critical to our program’s success.

The Division of Recovery and Resilience focuses on conducting innovative research focused on understanding the individual and social factors that promote growth and resilience, while also translating scientific discoveries into practical strategies to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Our researchers have developed treatments proven to reduce suicide attempts by up to 76% and have designed new methods for identifying patients in need. Our clinicians use these cutting-edge methods to help individuals rapidly resolve suicidal crises and create meaningful lives.

Simple but powerful: Crisis response plans like the above examples give patients a roadmap to recognize the signs, take steps to improve their mental well-being and to reach out for help during a crisis.

Learn more: go.osu.edu/recovery-resilience

Researching the Connections Between Cancer, its Treatments and the Brain

The Pyter Laboratory is focused on the connections between behavioral neuroscience and cancer immunology. The core causes of behavioral issues in cancer patients are unknown, although tumor biology, cancer treatments, and/or stress can each contribute. This lack of knowledge means that successful cancer treatment falls short of its potential and prior quality of life remains elusive for survivors.

Pyter Lab

A few pre-COVID photos from the Pyter Lab team. Dr. Leah Pyter is pictured bottom-right.

Facts and Figures

Due to improved diagnostics and treatments, about 70% of today's cancer patients will survive for at least 5 years. (NCI)

More than 16.9 million cancer survivors are alive today. (American Cancer Society)

About 1 in 5 cancer survivors become depressed (NCI), more than twice as much as healthy adults.

Nearly 2/3 of patients with breast cancer experience some sort of mood disorder.

Studies of cancer patients followed for 15 years show that depression is the most consistent psychological predictor of a shorter survival time.

Learn more: go.osu.edu/pyterlab

Building the Future

Interdisciplinary Research Facility

“The Interdisciplinary Research Facility and its plaza will truly be the epicenter of the new Innovation District.”

Keith Myers, Vice President of Planning, Architecture and Real Estate

Expected to open by the summer of 2023, the Interdisciplinary Research Facility (IRF) is part of The Ohio State University's planned West Campus Innovation District. Here, researchers will study human health, find solutions to cure cancer, prevent and attack infectious diseases, create new gene-and cell-based therapies, and improve environmental health. The long-term vision is for the district is to create proximity: thousands of students, researchers, local leaders and businesses will work just steps away from one another. They’ll share promising new ideas and accelerate and turning those ideas into solutions.

The university’s new Interdisciplinary Research Facility will enable us to broaden our teams and expand research. Each of the five floors of the IRF will be designed to facilitate collaboration, with physicians working side-by-side with faculty researchers from across the university.

“The location of the new facility [west of Kenny Road and south of Lane Avenue] accelerates the translation of cutting-edge research discoveries from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside,” said Dr. Hal Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for Health Affairs at Ohio State and CEO of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Proximity to patients is key and all of Ohio State’s physicians will immediately incorporate the latest advances in diagnosis and treatment.”

Your Support Makes the Difference

Your support of the Neurological Institute can help advance these important projects and more. To learn more about how you can help, contact one of the NI's Development Officers or click the button below to donate online:

Julie Barry, Director of Development, Neurological Institute, Julie.Barry@osumc.edu

Michele Gregory, Executive Director, Neurological Institute Fundraising, Michele.Gregory2@osumc.edu

Jennifer Lamb, Director of Development, Neurological Institute,  Jennifer.Lamb@osumc.edu

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