Michaelis Lab (Elias)
- Dongwei Hui, Ph.D. - Post-Doctoral Research Associate
- Ranu Pal, Ph.D. - Post-Doctoral Research Associate
- Xinkun Wang, Ph.D. - Director Genomics Facility
The focus of research in our laboratory is on processes that control both normal and abnormal neurological activity in brain. In particular, a major focus has been on the study of the L-glutamate (Glu) neurotransmitter system and its role in alcohol abuse and alcoholism, the development of seizures, the induction of oxidative stress and neurodegeneration, and the processes involved in aging or age-associated diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. Glu neurotransmission is the most extensive excitatory transmission in the brain and spinal cord and is thought to be involved in disease states ranging from schizophrenia, to alcoholism, to Lou Gehrig's disease, to seizure disorders, and to Alzheimer's disease. Our laboratory has made and continues to make seminal contributions to the field of Glu neurotransmission and its role in these important behavioral and neurological states.
The most modern techniques of genomics, bioinformatics, transgenics, molecular biology, protein biochemistry, immunocytochemistry, confocal microscopy, and electrophysiology have been applied to solve the research problems confronting us in uncovering the mechanisms of Glu-induced alterations in neurological function. Through collaborations with other colleagues, our research group has branched into behavioral measurements and magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the brain in efforts to explore in living organisms the effects of altered Glu metabolism and activity on brain structure and function. The research group has also generated several unique transgenic and gene knockout mice that are providing us with models of Glu- and aging-associated neurological damage and which have similarities to Alzheimer's disease.