DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSCIENCE

The RNI’s wide-ranging research is the
springboard for translational technology and breakthrough science.

DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSCIENCE

The RNI’s wide-ranging research is the
springboard for translational technology and breakthrough science.

about us

The Department of Neuroscience is the RNI hub for foundational research and preclinical models. The RNI’s wide-ranging research is the springboard for translational technology and breakthrough science. Its findings are woven throughout every RNI department and discipline, and inform the development of new treatments, innovative devices, and education and training.

Clinicians in all specialty areas partner with the team to advance next-stage clinical research and discoveries and collaborate with neuroscientists to provide better outcomes for patients in West Virginia and beyond. We also provide rich opportunities for training the next generation of scientists through access to outreach efforts and special initiatives.

The department’s research spans
various areas of neuroscience:

  • Neurocircuits
  • Stroke
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Addiction
  • Human Performance

CENTER FOR FOUNDATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

The new WVU Center for Foundational Neuroscience Research and Education’s cross-departmental structure reflects the interdisciplinary nature of cutting-edge neuroscience. The Center facilitates shared resources and coordination between disciplines to promote innovation and education campus wide.

“This sort of cross-campus initiative is where universities are going and provides more resources to pursue outstanding foundational neuroscience research and train exceptional PhD students,” said Randy J. Nelson, PhD, Department chair and Center director.

TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH FRONTIERS

A. COURTNEY DEVRIES, PhD

JAMES SIMPKINS, PhD

 

Researchers in the WVU School of Medicine, A. Courtney DeVries, PhD, and James Simpkins, PhD, were recently awarded over $11 million for a five-year competing renewal of their previous Stoke CoBRE Phase II P20 award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Their study examines the physiological and emotional cascade of events that result from stroke-related changes in the brain, and has potential to decrease morbidity and mortality related to stroke and aid development of preventive strategies and treatments.

CANDICE BROWN, PhD

 

My lab’s research interests focus the role of the enzyme, alkaline phosphatase, at two important endothelial barriers, i.e the blood-brain barrier and the gut-vascular barrier. Our research goal is to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms through which alkaline phosphatase regulates immune responses at these barriers through the lens of aging and sex differences. We use mouse models of ischemic stroke, experimental sepsis, and Alzheimer’s disease to address our research questions. I chose to work at the RNI because I was attracted by the abundant resources available for stroke and aging researchers such as: the Center for Basic and Translational Stroke Research, the WVU Stoke CoBRE, and the T32 on Stroke and its Comorbidities in Aging.

ERIN WINSTANLEY, PhD

 

A recent study by Erin Winstanley, PhD, showed that rural women with substance use disorders may have experienced significantly more childhood trauma than their male counterparts. Findings by Dr. Winstanley, an associate professor in the departments of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry and Neuroscience, have the potential to inform both treatment plans for substance use disorders and strategies for early intervention and prevention

FACES OF RNI

Robin Oliverio

“My research focuses on a preclinical mouse model for traumatic brain injury (TBI), and we look at the relationship between TBI and alcohol misuse. We have found that a TBI which occurs early in life results in increased alcohol consumption among female mice. Interestingly, this effect is attenuated by environmental enrichment, wherein mice are provided a larger cage with toys and extra bedding. The goal of my research is to elucidate the mechanism by which environmental enrichment modulates this response to alcohol following a juvenile TBI. I chose to study with the RNI because of the great mentors I have met and now have the privilege of working with.”

ROBIN OLIVERIO
Neuroscience PhD Student

Divine Dwafor

“Coming from Nigeria, I was attracted to WVU by the cohesiveness of its community. There’s a sense of teamwork at WVU that I didn’t find anywhere else. From recruiting talent to producing great research, I see the RNI bridging so many therapeutic challenges that could be beneficial to the patients I’ll treat one day.”

DIVINE NWAFOR
Neuroscience PhD/MD Student