Our Research

Using our pig ischemic stroke model, we try to understand the extent to which our induced pluripotent neural stem cell lines are able to form functional neural cells in the stroke environment, their ability to modulate recovery and regeneration and the effect of differing gray and white matter microenvironment on differentiation.

What is stroke?

In an ischemic stroke, blood supply to part of the brain is decreased, leading to dysfunction of the brain tissue in that area. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic. In a hemorrhagic stroke, an intracranial hemorrhage spills blood into the skull cavity damaging the brain tissue. Our research focuses on ischemic stroke.

Stroke Facts

  • Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability amongst adults in the United States.
  • Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes. One in four are recurrent strokes.
  • Stroke costs the United States an estimated $38.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and missed days of work.
  • Although stroke risk increases with age, strokes can—and do—occur at any age. In 2009, 34% of people hospitalized for stroke were under the age of 65.5.
  • The country’s highest death rates due to stroke are in the southeastern United States.

Current Challenges

There is currently only one FDA-approved drug for ischemic stroke, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), and less than 4% of stroke patients receive it. Even among those patients who receive tPA, 50% remain disabled after 3 months. The profound health and socioeconomic effect of stroke on the individual, the family and the community at large and the lack of any effective restorative pharmacological approaches has lead to considerable interests in stem cell therapies.

Human Neural Stem Cells derived using iPS technology. (Nestin in red, Sox1in green, Dapi in blue)
Human Neural Stem Cells derived using iPS technology.
(Nestin in red, Sox1in green, Dapi in blue)
Left: A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts within the brain. Right: An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks the blood flow in an artery within the brain.