Larry Benowitz, PhD
The Benowitz Laboratory
Nerve cells in the mature central nervous system (CNS: brain, spinal cord, eye) cannot regrow connections that have been severed, and undamaged nerve cells have only a limited ability to form new connections that might compensate for ones that have been lost. As a result of this, victims of traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury or neurodegenerative diseases can suffer permanent and devastating losses in movement, sensation, bodily functions, and/or thinking, depending on the location and severity of damage. The goals of the Benowitz lab are to discover the basic mechanisms that control the growth of nerve connections and to apply insights from this work to promote rewiring and functional recovery after CNS injury. This research extends from the basic cellular and molecular levels to in vivo models of CNS injury.
Our current projects focus on:
- Optic nerve regeneration: research on the molecules that enable retinal ganglion cells, the projection neurons of the eye to regrow their connections through the optic nerve. Click on the left navigation menu to learn more.
- Spinal cord injury & stroke: inosine enhances the rewiring of brain connections and improves functional outcome after spinal cord injury or stroke. Click on the left navigation menu to learn more.
- Cell signaling pathways underlying axon growth: The protein kinase Mst3b plays a central role in the intracellular signaling pathway through which trophic factors lead to axon growth. Click on the left navigation menu to learn more.