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February 2011

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Upcoming distinguished lecture by Maiken Nedergaard

By Eddy Ball
February 2011

Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc.

Nedergaard's astrocyte research has challenged an earlier emphasis on the role of neurons in epilepsy, spinal cord disease, migraine, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease. (Photo courtesy of Maiken Nedergaard)

NIEHS will welcome neurosurgeon and neuroscientist Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., Feb. 8 as the next speaker in the 2010-2011 Distinguished Lecture Series. Nedergaard will explore emerging issues in translational neuromedicine in a presentation titled "Astrocyte - The Other Cell in Brain," hosted by NIEHS Principal Investigator and Acting Scientific Director David Miller, Ph.D., head of the Intracellular Regulation Group.

Nedergaard( Exit NIEHS is a professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, where she is the co-director. She is also a professor in the Department of Neurology, as well as the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, and holds the Dean's Professorship.

Among her many honors was her election in 2008 to the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences in recognition of her role as a pioneer in brain research, who has demonstrated that brain cells known as astrocytes play a role in a host of human diseases.

The Nedergaard lab's interests include signaling in astrocytes and their role in seizure disorders and cerebral blood flow. She has investigated the role of gliosis - the proliferation of astrocytes in damaged areas of the central nervous system - and glial signaling in stroke and the treatment of spinal cord injury. Her group developed new modalities for imaging native and transplanted glial progenitors in vivo.

In recent work, Nedergaard has focused on the neurotransmitter adenosine, a nucleoside involved in sleep and one that is present in all living cells. She has explored adenosine's role in deep brain stimulation to ease abnormal brain signaling in patients with Parkinson's disease and other brain disorders. She has also studied the role of adenosine in pain relief experienced by patients undergoing acupuncture.

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