Regenerative Medicine for Neural Systems

Regenerative medicine focuses on using stem cell biology to advance medical therapies for devastating disorders. To quote the Director of the Stem Cell Institute, Dr. Jakub Tolar, “with stem cells, we can rewrite the genetic code itself. We can create smart cells that effectively cure diseases in a way that was unimaginable not long ago.” The Minnesota Stem Cell Institute brings together all the stem cell faculty members across our large campus. The state of Minnesota has invested a great deal of money into regenerative medicine research, and many of the funded grants were to faculty in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience.

The research performed is extremely varied, and includes studies on: mechanisms for control of neural crest cell migration; understanding stem cell differences between mammals and animals that can regenerate central nervous system tissues; testing efficacy of intranasal administration of stem cells as a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease; potential use of stem cells for treating Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain and spinal cord injury; stem cell mechanisms responsible for the increased regenerative capacity and disease sparing of extraocular muscles in degenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy; the use of stem cells as a potential therapy for common types of blindness; role of stem cells in patterning of the thalamus and cortex; and the potential of transplantation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells as a therapy for spinal cord injury.


Martina Bazzaro
Danni Li
Jessica Nielson
Christina Pacak