Research Team Members
Kevin F. Bieniek, PhD
Research focuses on elucidating the role of traumatic brain injury exposure on the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative disorders like chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer’s disease by studying the relationships between sports-related and military-related head trauma, underlying burden and distribution of tau and beta-amyloid pathology, hereditary genetic risk factors and resulting neurocognitive deficits. Additional research interests include the impact of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury on the etiology and progression of TDP-43 pathology, on other concomitant neurodegenerative pathologies and on normal aging. Kevin F. Bieniek, Ph.D., also serves as the Director of the Biggs Institute Brain Bank, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary repository of central and peripheral nervous system tissues from a variety of neurodegenerative disorders.
Biological & Innovative Research, Clinical Research, Population Neuroscience
Jose E. Cavazos, MD, PhD
The lab of Jose E. Cavazos, MD, PhD, studies activity-dependent plasticity in the hippocampal formation in the developing, adult, and aged brain using a variety of experimental models of epilepsy, seizures, epileptogenesis, Alzheimer’s disease and hippocampal sclerosis. Previous studies from his laboratory have shown that repeated seizures induce progressive neuronal death and axon sprouting that permanently alter the hippocampal circuitry lending it more susceptible to additional seizures and memory and cognitive dysfunction. In aged models, some hippocampal neurons appeared more vulnerable to disease leading to similar cognitive dysfunction.
His lab is currently investigating the molecular mechanisms that link the synchronous neuronal hyperexcitability with these morphological events. The lab investigates the features of this form of neural plasticity in other limbic circuitries using anatomical tracing techniques, and their electrophysiological consequences in the neuronal excitability of the abnormally connected circuitry using brain slices and in-vivo using electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques. His lab also has several ongoing clinical projects about people with epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease who develop this form of neural plasticity.
Geoffrey D. Clarke, PhD
Biological & Innovative Research
Gabriel A. de Erausquin, MD, PhD, M.Sc.