Researcher Outlines New Way to Study Nerve Cells

PFUND researcher Joseph M. Corey, MD, Ph.D., has recent data suggesting that engineered synthetic materials produced in a specific pattern enhance the growth, shape, and migration of neurons and their processes. During spinal cord injury, neurons are damaged or killed. In order for a patient to regain function, the neurons must grow and connect with one another in a particular pattern. Scaffolds are used to aid in proper neuronal growth and connection. Dr. Corey’s results suggest that the material used and the patterns the materials are placed in determine how the neurons will behave. These results further our understanding of how these materials can be used to control the direction a neuron will grow or move in and the connections it will make with other neurons, which will be important for patient rehabilitation after spinal cord injury.