black and red microscopic somatal imagery

Peripheral Nerve Injury Study


Every year, over 200,000 Americans sustain a peripheral nerve injury (PNI).

Although peripheral nerves have the ability to spontaneously regenerate, 90% of PNI patients do not regain full motor function. Despite ongoing research, the main treatment for peripheral nerve injury—surgery— continues to be performed without the assistance of any medication or other therapies to enhance the rate of axon regrowth.

Moreover, genetic differences have been shown to alter regeneration after injury as well as attenuate response to experimental treatments, indicating the need to stratify clinical trials by patient genotypes. In other words, each unique patient brings a unique needed approach due to the variables of their bodies natural response.

Our research aims to evaluate how common genetic differences alter regeneration after peripheral nerve injury as well as potential response to treatment.

image of black and red axonal compartment

The brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism affects approximately 30% of the American population, whereas the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) E4 isoform is present in approximately 14% of the population. In preclinical models, both of these genetic polymorphisms have resulted in altered regeneration after nerve injury. We use human isogenic stem cell models to study how these polymorphisms affect axon regeneration in iPSC-derived motoneurons. We also research how genetic differences alter the response to therapies for nerve regeneration such as electrical stimulation.

We aim to find alternative treatments for this large proportion of the population who are not served by current treatment options. This research will further the understanding of how genetics alters response to treatment, with the goal of using precision medicine to optimize rehabilitative treatment strategies and outcomes

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