Current Research

Correlation of Microglia Activation and Neuroinflammatory Biomarkers in Traumatic Brain Injury

Chronic neuroinflammation is an elusive pathological mechanism linking Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and neurodegenerative disease and is likely driven by dysregulation of the brain’s resident immune cells, microglia. The lack of effective therapeutics and screening tools for inflammation after injury are partially attributed to the use of irreproducible models to study injury and monitor single-cell alterations. The majority of TBI-related studies are conducted in vivo and, although biologically complex, fail to consider the reproducibility of mechanical forces at a single-cell level. Estimating the strain applied to a neuron or glial cell with a complex branching structure requires robust biomechanical characterization as the load distribution will be influenced by orientation. As a result, it can be difficult to apply mechanical strain in vivo with the accuracy required to assume a correlation between strain and injury response. Therefore, I intend to utilize an in vitro TBI model to apply reproducible mechanical injury to single cells to identify biomarkers associated with neuroinflammation.