Co-investigator Theus awarded Commonwealth Health Research Board grant
March 1, 2021
Principal investigator Alicia Pickrell, assistant Professor in the College of Science's School of Neuroscience, and co-investigator Michelle Theus, associate professor of molecular and cellular neurobiology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, have been awarded a three-year grant from the Commonwealth Health Research Board to dissect the role of interferon in traumatic brain injury and to investigate the potential to mitigate this interferon pathway as a potential therapy for traumatic brain injury.
STING-mediated Response in Traumatic Brain Injury
Commonwealth Health Research Board
DURATION OF AWARD
3/1/2021 — 4/30/2024
KEY FACULTY PERSONNEL
PI/PD: Alicia Pickrell
CO-I: Michelle Theus
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most commonly acquired central nervous system (CNS) injury affecting both civilian and military populations in the United States. This highly complex, heterogeneous epidemic results in excessive morbidity and long-term disability for an estimated 5.3 million Americans with an annual economic cost of $37.8 billion. Our proposal challenges existing paradigms by evaluating a novel inflammatory pathway (STING) in traumatic brain injury. Classically, Type I interferons and STING activation mediate the body's immune response to viruses. While interferon production has been observed in the human brain following TBI, it remains unclear how this well-known pathway involved in viral clearance plays a central role in neuroinflammation. The current proposal will characterize the novel mechanistic control over interferon activation following TBI and decipher whether targeting this pathway therapeutically may reduce inflammation and neurodegeneration.