Inflammation is a common denominator across diverse CNS conditions/diseases characterized by underlying chronic neuron damage across time. Our work is centered on how microglia, the resident innate immune cells in the brain, can become a chronic source of cytokines and reactive oxygen species that drive progressive neuron damage. While, our major research focus is on Parkinson’s disease, Gulf War Illness, and Alzheimer’s disease, we believe that many of the molecular and environmental mechanisms we are actively pursuing may impact the progressive nature of neuron damage in many of the conditions listed above.
As such, the three major areas of research focus are:
1. Microglial Redox Signaling – How do reactive oxygen species reprogram microglia to become deleterious and can we use this information to abolish a neurotoxic phenotype?
2. Chronic Microglial Activation – Why doesn’t the response shut off and how can we both diagnose and stop this phenomenon?
3. Air Pollution & Microglia – How does air pollution affect microglia, what does it mean for CNS disease, and what can we do about it?