Elisabeth Manville
Mar 19, 2012

Research team uses stem cells to study gene function in neurological disorders

A research team from Kansas State University, led by professor Mark Weiss, has perfected a technique that uses stem cells to study targeted genetic modifications. Their research aims to advance the field of functional genomics, which focuses on understanding the functions and roles of genes in disease. The team is developing new ways to use florescent transporters to help study neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke and spinal cord injury. “People who have spinal cord injury do not experience a lot of regeneration,” Weiss said. "It is one of the problems of the nervous system -- it is not great at regenerating itself like other tissues.” By studying signals from fluorescing cells, the team may be able to understand how neural stem cells are reactivated. “We want to try and make these genetic markers, and then we can test different kinds of treatment to see how they assist in the regenerative process,” Weiss also said.