The great extent of ongoing research in the Buckeye Chapter is described in the following researachers' bios.
Dr. Bermel is Associate Staff in the Neurological Institute's Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Cleveland Clinic. Before joining the Cleveland Clinic in 2004 as an Intern, he completed his medical degree with thesis honors at the State University of New York at Buffalo. This experience initiated his dedicated interest in multiple sclerosis. He continued his training at Cleveland Clinic, completing both his internship in Internal Medicine and his residency in Neurology there. Additionally, he served as the prestigious Chief Resident at Cleveland Clinic. He is currently funded as a National MS Society postdoctoral fellow in clinical neurology and advanced imaging at Cleveland Clinic.
In conjunction with his research and clinical responsibilities, Dr. Bermel is actively involved with the National MS Society through a variety of volunteer activities, including speaking with patient groups in support of the National MS Society and serving as a consultant to industries for MS therapeutics.
Dr. Bermel's Current Research
Dr. Bermel’s current research focuses on how best to use advanced imaging methods to evaluate and improve recovery from multiple sclerosis, with special attention to vision recovery after inflammation. More specifically, he works with Optical Coherence Tomography, Diffusion Tensor MRI, and Functional MRI to investigate this question. He also has spent some time investigating MS-related fatigue and determined that higher levels of fatigue are associated with lower levels of activation in the brain region of the thalamus. The thalamus acts as a relay center for sensation and motor signals and is crucial in the regulation of consciousness and alertness. He hopes these studies will eventually lead to improved understanding and treatment of MS-related fatigue.
Pallab Bhattacharyya, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Bhattacharyya is a full professor and researcher at Cleveland Clinic. He received both his Ph.D. training in Materials Management and his post-doctorate training in Nuclear Structure Physics at Purdue University. He then joined the faculty at Cleveland Clinic, where he is primarily concerned with imaging techniques using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Dr. Bhattacharyya's Current Research
Dr. Bhattacharyya’s current research focuses on studying the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are crucial for propagating the electrical message through nerve cells which are responsible for all life functions. GABA has been shown to be involved with excitatory neural processes and strengthening muscle tone. Lower levels of GABA in the brain may correlate with increased MS symptoms, perhaps because GABA may help quiet the immune system’s attack on itself.
Dr. Bhattacharyya is specifically concerned with the imaging aspect of this hypothesis and is working to create an imaging technique to evaluate GABA levels in the brains of MS patients. He has successfully retrieved a properly edited GABA level spectrum from a dataset that otherwise would have been discarded due to motion of the subject. His novel imaging techniques will hopefully provide better imaging for MS patients and a clearer picture of an important neurotransmitter in the brain.
Dr. Aaron Boster - The Ohio State University MS Clinic
Dr. Boster is an Assistant Professor in Neurology at The Ohio State University’s College of Medicine. He received his Bachelor’s from Oberlin College and his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati. His residency was completed at the University of Michigan in Neuology. Afterwards, he completed a two year fellowship in Clinical Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis at Wayne State University in Detroit. After his training was complete, he joined OSU’s Multiple Sclerosis Center.
Dr. Boster’s Current Research
Dr. Boster’s current research is focused on the use of immunosupression in multiple sclerosis. MS is believed to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, meaning a person’s own immune system recognizes his/her brain and spinal cord as foreign and damages it. Immunosuppressants counteract this balance by suppressing the entire immune system. Dr. Boster is investigating the benefit of immunosupressions in MS.
In addition to these studies, Dr. Boster studies pediatric multiple sclerosis and the differences between this form and the more common adult forms of MS. He has also helped improve diagnostics criteria using ultra-high field MRI techniques. MS is largely diagnosed through a process of exclusions where other diseases are proved not to be the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Advancements in the diagnostic arena would greatly help push for earlier treatment options.
Devon Conway, M.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Conway is a first year neurology fellow at Case Western Reserve University. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in 2005 and continued his education at Yale University for his interning years. He returned to Case Western for his fellowship training and is a first year fellow in neurology program.
In addition to seeing and treating patients as a neurologist, his future plans include conducting MS clinical trials with new therapeutics. During his fellowship years, he is receiving strong training in how to design, conduct, and execute MS clinical trials.
Dr. Conway does not have any ongoing research projects at this time. Please check back for research projects conducted by Dr. Conway.
Ranjan Dutta, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Dutta is a research associate studying multiple sclerosis at Cleveland Clinic. He completed both his graduate and doctorate training in Calcutta, India. During his time in India he researched human population diversity through the varying lengths of long sequence repeats in DNA. The varying lengths of these DNA repeats are crucial for genetic diversity but may also be used as biomarkers for some diseases
Dr. Dutta's Current Research
Dr. Dutta’s current research is in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Trapp and is focused on how gene presentation is regulated in the brains of MS patients. He primarily studies microRNAs which are short RNA molecules whose primary role is to regulate what proteins are translated from the corresponding gene and DNA sequence. They exert significant control over what proteins are produced in individuals. Dr. Dutta is interested in investigating differences in microRNA levels in the brains of MS patients verse non-MS individuals. His goal is to find unique microRNAs in MS patients that could be an easy source for future targeted therapies. Additionally, this work could uncover important new information about how and why cells are damaged during MS.
Robert Fox, M.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Fox is Staff Neurologist and Medical Director at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Cleveland Clinic. He completed his medical training at Johns Hopkins University and his residency training in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. He then completed his fellowship in Neuroimmunology at Cleveland Clinic. He also has a master’s degree in Clinical Research from Case Western Reserve University. Currently, in addition to practicing neurology, he serves as an advisory committee member and principal site investigator for many clinical trials, including the large fumarate study. Fumarate is showing promising results in clinical trials as a therapeutic for relapsing-remitting MS.
He also serves as a member of various advisory and review committees for the National MS Society and he is a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry regarding the development of new treatments for MS.
Dr. Fox's Current Research
Dr. Fox’s current research focuses on patient decision-making associated with clinical trials and evaluating to what extent patients will take the risk for novel, possibly more effective therapies over the current standard treatments. With this investigation, he also seeks to study how this safety risk changes over time as the patient’s symptoms may worsen. This research will help better design, conduct, and execute clinical trials in the future. Dr. Fox also works to improve imaging techniques to allow for better evaluation of MS therapies.
Xiaoxia Li, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Li is currently a professor and researcher at Cleveland Clinic. She completed her doctorate at the University of Texas at Houston. Now, she is investigating the connection between the adaptive or learned immune system with the innate immune system.
Dr. Li's Current Research
Dr. Li’s current research focuses on the cytokine IL-17. Cytokines are proteins that are secreted by specific cells to produce changes in other cells throughout the body. Cytokines are the method by which cells communicate with each another. IL-17 has been implicated in pro-inflammatory processes, meaning it helps cells gain access to and attack the central nervous system in multiple sclerosis. Dr. Li has discovered an adapter molecule (Act1) that may be essential for IL-17 signaling. This discovery provides a possible target for future pharmaceuticals that could indirectly limit IL-17 production in MS patients by targeting Act1, which would in return limit inflammation and damage to the central nervous system.
The long range goal of Dr. Li’s lab is to translate her research regarding important genes and proteins into useful animal models. She hopes to develop animal models deficient in the Act1 adapter molecule in order to better study its regulation and the role of IL-17 in multiple sclerosis. Studies with this animal model will allow Dr. Li to develop therapeutic drugs through collaboration with scientists in biotechnology companies.
Mark Lowe, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Lowe is a professor and researcher at Cleveland Clinic. He completed his doctorate at the University of Minnesota. Now, he is investigating the use of MRI to detect neural damage in the brains of MS patients.
Dr. Lowe's Current Research
Dr. Lowe’s current research focuses on using MRI’s to study the connectivity between the left and right hemispheres in brains of MS patients. He created a method using MRI to clearly evaluate the functional and anatomical differences between the hemispheres. Functional difference is the extent of communication between the two, while anatomical difference explores the extent of neural connection between the two. Because typical MRI measures of disease burden often poorly correlate with disease symptoms, Dr. Lowe hopes to improve this correlation with his analysis of functional connectivity using MRI.
In support of his research, Dr. Lowe has several patents and innovations regarding magnetic resonance imaging. They range from an integrated system for the production of MRI Safe Implantable Pacing Devices to Direct Thermal Monitoring for MRI Safety Intervention.
Dr. Joanne Lynn - The Ohio State University MS Clinic
Dr. Lynn is currently the Associate Vice Dean for the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in Psychology and Neuroscience. She attended Ohio State’s College of Medicine for her medical training and has been active in Columbus ever since. She is an Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology at OSU’s Multiple Sclerosis Center.
She is actively involved in teaching neuroscience to medical school students. She was awarded the 2007 Professor of the Year Award by The Ohio State University College of Medicine's Class of 2007 to recognize her dedication and enthusiasm as a professor. She is the director of medical student education in neurology for OSU’s College of Medicine and serves as the chair of the undergraduate education subcommittee for the American Academy of Neurology nationally.
Dr. Lynn’s Current Research
Dr. Lynn’s current research focuses on the effects of female hormones during the progression of multiple sclerosis. MS affects women nearly three times as often as it does men. The observation led Dr. Lynn to investigate if this difference is caused by hormone levels. The added observation that women experience significantly less disease symptoms during pregnancy has strengthened this hypothesis. Dr. Lynn is also involved in developing disease modifying therapies, one of which a leading candidate may be hormone therapy.
Wendy Macklin, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Macklin is a joint professor and researcher at Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University. She completed her doctorate at Stanford University and joined Cleveland Clinic soon thereafter.
Dr. Macklin's Current Research
Dr. Macklin’s current research focuses on oligodendrocytes and their ability to make myelin. Myelin is the protective coating surrounding nerve cells which is produced by a specific cell type known as oligodendrocytes. The destruction of the myelin during multiple sclerosis is the cause of many of the disease symptoms. She determined the protein Akt plays a large role in myelin production and is now investigating it to better understand how we may be able to remyelinate the nerves of MS patients. She created a mouse model to over express Akt which causes hyper-myelination to a pathological extent in order to better understand normal myelination.
Another current research focus of Dr. Macklin’s is oligodendrocyte differentiation. She has identified compounds that enhance oligodendrocyte differentiation and as a result, enhance remyelination in demyelinated animals. This project could lead to a meaningful drug discovery in regards to remyelinating therapy.
Michael Phillips, M.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Phillips is Section Head of Imaging Sciences and Vice Chairman of Research and Academic Affairs in the Imaging Institute at Cleveland Clinic. He also serves as the Imaging Director for the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Cleveland Clinic. He graduated magna cum laude undergraduate in Neuroscience from Amherst College. He received his medical degree from Columbia University. After completing his internship in Internal Medicine at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, and his residency in Radiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Phillips was a fellow in Neuroradiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He was then an Assistant Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine before being appointed to Cleveland Clinic in 2002.
Dr. Phillips' Current Research
Dr. Phillips’ current research focuses on using imaging techniques to help understand cognitive impairment in people with MS. While a majority of MS patients do not experience cognitive impairment, it can be very debilitating for those who do. Common cognitive impairment symptoms for MS include word finding, memory issues, or problems with planning, organizing, prioritizing, problem-solving, concentrating, or abstract reasoning. Dr. Phillips is investigating how scientists can better use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to analyze how damage to the hippocampus from MS correlates with memory loss. The hippocampus is the region of the brain responsible for long term memory and spatial arrangement.
Dr. David Pitt - The Ohio State University MS Clinic
Dr. Pitt is an Assistant Professor in both the Neurology and Neuroscience Departments at The Ohio State University. He is a native of Germany and earned his medical degree from the University of Marburg in Germany. He then received extensive postdoctoral research training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. During his time there, he also completed a neurology residency and served as chief resident in his final year. Next, he completed a three-year fellowship in Neuroimmunology at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Pitt joined OSU’s Multiple Sclerosis Center in 2008.
Dr. Pitt’s Current Research
Dr. Pitt’s current research focuses on the neurodegenerative mechanisms of MS. In addition to the destruction of the myelin sheath (the protective insulation surrounding nerve cells), nerve cells themselves are also damaged in MS. He is primarily concerned with glutamate excitotoxicity, a pathway that leads to overstimulation of the nervous system and results in injury to nerve cells and myelin- producing cells.
In addition to his research interests, Dr. Pitt sees many multiple sclerosis patients at OSU’s Multiple Sclerosis Center.
Michael Racke, M.D. - Ohio State University MS Clinic
Dr. Racke is the Chairman of Neurology and a Professor in Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at The Ohio State University Medical Center. He received his medical training from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School. He completed his Neurology residency at Emory University in Atlanta and continued his training with a Neuroimmunology fellowship the National Institutes of Health. His first faculty position was at Washington University in St. Louis. He was awarded the Harry Weaver Neuroscience Junior Faculty Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Young Investigator in Multiple Sclerosis of the American Academy of Neurology Education and Research Foundation during his time in St. Loius. Before assuming his chairmanship in neurology at The Ohio State University, he was Vice Chairman for Neurology Research and also a professor for the Center for Immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Currently, he also serves on scientific advisory committees for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Institutes of Health, and the Hertie Foundation in addition to serving on several editorial boards.
Dr. Racke's Current Research
Dr. Racke’s current research focuses on determining the initiating factor in multiple sclerosis and how one class of drugs called PPARalpha agonists may help treat MS. In MS, the body’s immune system attacks itself which is mediated through several different cell types. This influx of immune cells into the central nervous system causes severe inflammation, damage, and pain. PPARalpha has anti-inflammatory properties and is being investigated in hopes that it can limit the extent of inflammation in MS patients.
Dr. Racke is also involved in trying to understand the molecular mechanisms that mediate the effects of MS. He studies transcription factors, which are proteins that modulate which genes are transcribed, and thus control what proteins and cell types are produced by a given cell at a specific point in time. He also studies cytokines, the proteins used by cells to communicate with each other. They tell cells to attack the myelin sheath in MS. Dr. Racke is working to find a therapeutic agent that could control the transcription factors of a cell. This would prevent the cell from producing cytokines crucial to coordinating the attack.
Dr. Amy Lovett-Racke - The Ohio State University MS Clinic
Dr. Lovett-Racke is an assistant professor in the department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics at The Ohio State University. She received her B.S. in Microbiology from Texas A&M and her doctorate from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She then completed her post doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health in Neurological Diseases and Stroke and at Washington University in St. Louis in Human Pathobiology. Currently, she is also a grant reviewer for the Nation MS Society.
Dr. Lovett-Racke’s Current Research
Dr. Lovett-Racke’s current research focuses on characterizing the T lymphocytes responsible for damaging the brain and spinal cord in multiple sclerosis. T lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that are heavily involved in destroying anything the immune system identifies as foreign. Because the myelin sheath is recognized as foreign in MS for unclear reasons, T cells specific for attacking myelin are thought to play a large role in MS progression. Dr. Lovett-Racke determined that although all individuals have T lymphocytes specific for attacking myelin, they are only active in MS patients. This has led her to hypothesize that these T lymphocytes are the important cell type in MS and would be a good cell to target for future therapeutics. Rather than targeting T lymphocytes which are required to fight off natural infections, Dr. Lovett-Racke has focused her studies on eliminating critical proteins for myelin-specific T lymphocytes. One of these targets is T-bet, which is necessary for the transcription of the myelin-specific T lymphocytes. She has developed a small interfering RNA (siRNA) which is a molecule that essentially silences the effect of T-bet, and thus diminishes the myelin-specific T lymphocytes. She has successfully prevented and treated a mouse model of MS. She is currently optimizing the siRNA for human clinical trials with the hope that this strategy may be used as a therapeutic treatment of MS.
Richard Ransohoff, M.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Ransohoff is the director of the Neuroinflammation Research Center in the Department of Neurosciences of Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic. He is also a professor of Molecular Medicine and Staff Neurologist in the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research at Cleveland Clinic. He graduated with honors from Annandale-on Hudson in New York and attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Ransohoff's Current Research
Dr. Ransohoff’s current research focuses on determining the role of chemokines during multiple sclerosis. Chemokines are proteins that attract immune cells to the site of injury which is the hallmark of inflammation. Chemokine levels are fluid but specific as they direct immune cells, such as lymphocytes, macrophages, and microglia, to the central nervous system. In addition to recruiting cells involved with inflammation, some chemokines are involved in attracting cells involved with tissue repair. Dr. Ransohoff is concerned with this dual role and hopes to limit the inflammatory chemokines through specific drug targets in the pathway.
Carine Savarin, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Savarin has worked closely with Dr. Ransohoff and more currently Dr. Bergmann as a research fellow at Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Savarin's Current Research
Dr. Savarin’s current research focuses on the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family. This family of proteins is involved in the breakdown of the extracellular matrix, the structural support for cells, in both normal physiological processes and in disease processes. A hallmark process of multiple sclerosis is the breakdown of the blood brain barrier, which is the protective barrier that separates the brain from the blood flow. In multiple sclerosis, the blood brain barrier is compromised, allowing immune cells to enter the brain and attack it. Dr. Savarin is investigating the role of a specific matrix metalloproteinase, MMP-9, in the blood brain barrier breakdown. She has shown that patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis have increased levels of MMP-9 and increases in MMP-9 correlate with lesions in the brain. Dr. Savarin hopes to target the MMP-9 protein as a future therapeutic.
Randolph Schiffer, M.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Schiffer is the Director at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. He graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School and completed his internship training at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Before coming to Cleveland Clinic, he did his residency training in Neuropsychiatry at the Strong Memorial Hospital of The University of Rochester.
Dr. Schiffer's Current Research
Dr. Schiffer’s current research focuses on treating depression in multiple sclerosis patients. Studies have shown that clinical depression, the most severe form of depression, affects MS patients at a higher rate than the general public. For this reason, it has become an area of interest. Dr. Schiffer proposed using the Goldman Algorithm to diagnose and treat depression in MS patients. The Goldman Algorithm is a series of questions designed to asses the severity of depression and to address different methods for treating the varying levels of depression. This algorithm has been applied to other areas but is being applied to depression in MS patients for the first time. Dr. Schiffer hopes this will help make treatment more consistent and beneficial to the patient.
Stephen Stohlman, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Stohlman is a researcher at Cleveland Clinic in the department of Neurosciences. He completed his undergraduate studies at California State University in Long Beach, California. Afterwards, he moved East to complete his doctorate training in Microbiology at the University of Maryland. He then did his fellowship at the University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles before coming to Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Stohlman's Current Research
Dr. Stohlman’s current research focuses on astrocytes, a support cell found in the brain. Astrocytes also help form the blood brain barrier which is the tight barrier between the brain and blood vessels. During MS, the blood brain barrier is compromised and allows immune cells to enter and continue the attack on the patient’s brain and spinal cord. Dr. Stohlman is investigating the production of interferon-gamma (IFN-g) by the astrocytes. IFN-g is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that can aid in the attack or help control virus replication that may be involved in MS causation. Cytokines are proteins used by cells to communicate with one other. Dr. Stohlman’s overall goal is to better understand the immune system’s natural response to damage in hopes of harnessing these properties for future therapies.
Bruce Trapp, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Trapp is Department Chair in the Neurosciences Department at Cleveland Clinic. He completed his undergraduate work at Northern Illinois University and his doctorate training at Loyola University before joining Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Trapp's Current Research
Dr. Trapp’s current research focuses on better understanding myelination. Myelin sheath is the protective coating surrounding nerve cells that is destroyed during multiple sclerosis. This protective coating is produced by a special cell type called oligodendrocytes. Better understanding the differentiation of oligodendrocytes from neural progenitor cells in the brain may help replace the damaged myelin. In conjunction with this project, Dr. Trapp is investigating the presence of neural stem cells in the adult brains of MS patients. Potentially, these stem cells could be differentiated into oligodendrocytes which could significantly help in repairing the damaged neurons in MS.
Vincent Tuohy, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Tuohy is a professor and researcher in the Department of Immunology at Cleveland Clinic. After completing his doctorate training at the State University of New York Health Sciences Center, he completed two fellowships. One was at the E.K. Shriver Center in Biochemistry and the second at Harvard Medical School in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Tuohy's Current Research
His current research focuses on using gene therapy to decrease the number of injections needed for patients taking beta interferon. He has shown that a single intramuscular injection of a gene encoding beta-interferon is sufficient to induce long term expression in MS patients. His gene injecting model has matched the current results seen with multiple beta-interferon injections. This finding provides an alternative to the repeated injections of beta-interferon currently used in the clinic.
Dr. Caroline Whitacre - The Ohio State University
Dr. Whitacre is Vice President for Research at The Ohio State University. She is also a professor in several different departments including Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics (MVIMG). She earned her Bachelor’s degree and doctorate at Ohio State and then completed her post doctoral training at Northwestern University. She was awarded the prestigious postdoctoral fellow award of the National MS Society during her training. She was an instructor at Northwestern for three years before returning to OSU in 1981. While at OSU, she quickly gained professorship and spent time as the department head of MVIMG and Associate Vice President of Health Sciences Research before assuming her current position as Vice President for Research in 2008.
In conjunction with her research and administrative responsibilities, Dr. Whitacre is actively involved with the National MS Society through a variety of volunteer activities, including speaking with patient groups. She is heavily involved with the advocacy and raising awareness aspects and goals. She has spoken at numerous policy meetings and shared her knowledge at several National MS Society events. She was inducted into the 2009 Researchers Hall of Fame for her long time determination and dedication to MS research.
Dr. Whitacre’s Current Research
Dr. Whitacre’s current research focuses on several different aspects of MS pathology. She initially investigated the sex differences in MS since women are almost three times more likely to have MS than men. This project has evolved to investigating the link between pregnancy and MS. The clinical symptoms of MS diminish significantly during pregnancy, only to return during the post partum period. The current direction of this project involves investigating exosomes or tiny packages of protein that are released from the placenta. These vesicles are thought to package the proteins responsible for the protective mechanism seen in pregnancy. She is dedicated to determining what is packaged by exosomes and where their targeted endpoint is.
In addition to this project, Dr. Whitacre is involved with studying microRNAs and cytokines. MicroRNAs are short RNA molecules whose primary role is to regulate what proteins are translated from the corresponding gene and DNA sequence. They exert significant control over what proteins are produced in individuals. Dr. Whitacre’s lab hopes to determine which microRNAs contribute to the disease symptoms. Cytokines are proteins used by cells to communicate with each other. She is investigating the role of one specific cytokine and its involvement the progression of MS.
Riqiang Yan, Ph.D. - Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Yan is currently a professor and researcher in the Department of Neurosciences at Cleveland Clinic. He completed his graduate studies at the Fudan University Medical School, formally the Shanghai Medical University. He then completed his doctorate training at the University of Kentucky before joining the Neuroscience Department at Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Yan's Current Research
Dr. Yan’s current research focuses on β-secretase (BACE1), a molecule that was first reported in relation to Alzheimer’s Disease. Generation of a mouse model completely void of the BACE1 molecule showed that these mice experience hypo-myelination, meaning the production of myelin is greatly delayed and the myelin thickness is markedly reduced. Dr. Yan has further worked out the specifics of the biochemical pathway involved with BACE1. Since MS is characterized by hypo-myelination because the myelin sheath is damaged, BACE1 may play an important role in MS. Dr. Yan is investigating this potential role to determine if BACE1 could be used to help repair the damaged myelin in MS patients.