Profile and Department: Professor, Surgery, University of Toronto
Lab: Morshead Lab
Our lab in interested in the most fundamental of questions regarding the behaviour and characterization of neural stem cells. We use a number of in vivo and in vitro techniques, cell transplantation, imaging, genetic manipulations and animal models to ask about the inherent plasticity of stem cells (are all stem cells created equal?), the factors that regulate fate decisions, proliferation kinetics and functional consequences of stem cell modification.
Understanding the fundamental properties is a first step to utilizing these cells in regenerative medicine strategies and we are actively pursuing the role of stem cells in models of disease such as stroke and spinal cord injury. We are pursuing the use of factors to activate stem cells that are resident in the mammalian brain and spinal cord, and in turn, asking whether this can promote "self-repair" mechanisms following injury. Finally, we are combining stem cell biology and tissue engineering strategies to achieve functionally significant repair and regeneration in injury models.