Research Labs

Burton Lab
Over 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) or related disorders such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).  The Burton Lab is directed by Edward A. Burton, MD, DPhil, FRCP.  The lab’s work focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in PD and PSP, and the development of new treatments for these diseases.

Glia in Parkinson's Disease Lab 
The long-term mission of the lab, led by Abby Olsen, MD, PhD, is to develop new therapeutic targets for Parkinson's disease (PD) and related disorders, including dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and multiple system atrophy (MSA). The two major areas of focus in the lab are defining the pathogenic contribution of glia to PD and related disorders and understanding gene-environment interactions in PD and related disorders.

Ion Transporter Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases Lab
Under the direction of Dandan Sun, MD, PhD, the lab studies the roles of ion transporter proteins, such as Na-K-Cl cotransporters, Na/Ca exchangers, and Na/H exchangers, in ionic dysregulation and neurodegeneration in experimental models of ischemic stroke, traumatic brain injury, and glioblastoma. These ion transporter proteins are all pathologically stimulated under these various disease conditions. The dysregulated ion transport function further interrupts the cellular and metabolic equilibrium. This lab is investigating the underlying mechanisms and modulating ion transport protein function as novel therapeutic strategy for these brain disorders. 

Reactive Astrocytes and Neurodegenerative Disease Lab
Under the direction of Gulnaz Begum, PhD, is aimed to provide an in-depth molecular understanding of the role of astrocytes in neurogenerative diseases such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer’s disease. This lab investigates the molecular signals/mechanisms that lead to reactive astrocyte phenotype and how reactive astrocytes modulate the normal astrocyte-neuron, and astrocyte-vasculature interactions in brain disorders. Mouse genetics, multi-omics, fluorescence ion imaging, and tissue culture techniques are some of the multifaceted experimental approaches used in this lab to probe the function of reactive astrocytes in normal and diseased brains. Using the insights from these studies, this work aims to ultimately transform astrocytes from “toxic” to “protective” state as a therapeutic strategy. 

Wittenberg Lab
The overall goal is the restoration of voluntary movement after neurological injury and in neurological disorders. Ongoing research interests presently lie in using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional imaging to understand motor cortical reorganization following stroke and in designing and testing new methods for neurorehabilitation.

Xia Lab
Through multidisciplinary, collaborative efforts, the Xia Lab aims to bring precision medicine to multiple sclerosis (MS) and related neuroinflammatory disorders. Research focuses include risk prediction and prevention in multiple sclerosis; precision medicine in multiple sclerosis; real-world evidence and informatics for clinical discovery.