Neurotrauma and Rehabilitation Laboratory

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant health problem that is unique in that it can transcend and affect all members of society. TBI isn’t selective with any particular population and occurs in the young as well as the elderly. It has been regarded as the signature wound of the recent military conflicts and with the increased number of injuries that have occurred treatment is becoming a growing concern. Neurotrauma has become a growing research field that has expanded tremendously over the past few decades. Many treatments have been examined and several advances have been made in the field; however, there are few of these have demonstrated much in the way of success. The aim of neurorehabilitation has always been the clinical application of methods (both pharmacological and otherwise) that lead to the maximization and restoration of neurological function following an injury to the nervous system. The purpose of the Neurotrauma and Rehabilitation Laboratory is to advance the field of neurorehabilitation as it applies to traumatic brain injury. This includes environmental enrichment, physical training, cognitive rehabilitation, and pharmacological treatments.

In addition, this lab has recently begun to study the functional impairments of chronic early life stress on the developing rodent brain. Stress is pervasive across species and, for humans, is particularly relevant due to the most recent COVID-19 pandemic. Chronic stress is a relevant topic to this lab due to the lasting neurobehavioral abnormalities it is known to cause. Furthermore, chronic stress is particularly damaging to the developing human, and can lead to developmental impairments, early onset psychiatric problems, e.g., depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations/attempts, substance abuse, and PTSD, as well as behavioral and cognitive problems, e.g., memory and attention deficits, that affect educational performance. For these reasons, it is critical that we attempt to further the understanding of how chronic early life stress affects organisms at the neurobehavioral level.