Collaboration. Acceleration. Results.      1 877 TO FIX MS
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Principal Investigators

Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Ben Barres is Chair of Stanford University School of Medicine’s Neurobiology Department and Professor of Neurobiology, Developmental Biology and Neurology. Dr. Barres is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Barres's laboratory brings expertise in the development and function of glial cells in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). They have found evidence of several novel glial signals that induce the onset of myelination, the clustering of axonal sodium channels, the survival and growth of retinal ganglion cells, and the formation of synapses.

Their work for Myelin Repair Foundation compliments Dr. Robert Miller's work on characterizing the processes related to myelination and identifying relevant glial-derived signaling molecules. To understand the interactions between axons and glial cells Dr. Barres's laboratory has developed methods to highly purify and culture neurons as well as oligodendrocytes and astrocytes (the glial cell types they interact with). The laboratory has developed a variety of novel methods to generate purified cell cultures that allow direct study of molecular interactions between the cell types and has considerable expertise in identifying and purifying these molecules.

All participating laboratories will rely on Dr. Barres's laboratory for its unique expertise in evaluating the action of target molecules using these novel cell purification and culture systems.

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Robert H. Miller, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Miller is the Vice President for Research & Technology Management, the Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience and the Allen C. Holmes Professor of Neurological Diseases at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Miller also holds appointments at the Cancer Center and Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospitals of Cleveland. He obtained both his B.Sc. and Ph.D. from University College in London, England and joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University in 1987.

Dr. Miller's laboratory brings expertise in defining the cellular and molecular factors that regulate glial cell determination in the vertebrate CNS and examining how proliferation and differentiation are controlled in the oligodendrocyte lineage in order to achieve the appropriate number of myelinating oligodendrocytes in the CNS. They also evaluate how glial cellular diversity is generated and what regulates the final glial composition of different regions of the CNS.

Dr. Miller's work complements Dr. Barres's for completing our understanding of the normal signaling and development of oligodendrocyte precursors into mature, myelinating oligodendrocytes. In addition, Dr. Miller's lab brings unique expertise in identifying, evaluating and validating Myelin Repair Foundation therapeutic targets in early stages of development and commitment, using both normal and diseased animal models and human tissue culture.

Dr. Miller's lab works closely with Dr. Barres's lab on identifying and validating developmental signaling pathways and the resulting therapeutic targets. His lab will also evaluate potential therapeutic targets identified by the other labs by their unique tissue culture capabilities.

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Stephen D. Miller, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen Miller is the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Professor of Microbiology-Immunology and Director of the Interdepartmental Immunobiology Center at Northwestern University.

Dr. Miller's laboratory investigates the immunological, cellular and molecular mechanisms of T cell-mediated autoimmune responses employing two mouse models of multiple sclerosis - Theiler's virus-induced model of multiple sclerosis and Relapsing Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (R-EAE). The laboratory examines the mechanisms whereby self-tissue destruction results in activation and recruitment of autoreactive T/B cells specific for endogenous self antigens and molecular mimicry, the process that leads to induction and/or progression of autoimmunity.

Dr. Miller's expertise in the pathogenesis of autoimmunological disorders along with his specific expertise on the role of leukocytes in the regulation of myelination are critical to the Myelin Repair Foundation achieving a comprehensive understanding of the endogenous molecular signals that mediate pathogenesis and prevent remyelination in multiple sclerosis.

Signaling mechanisms and molecules identified by Dr. Miller's lab that stimulate pathogenesis of myelin, will be validated in cell culture by Dr. Barres and Dr. Robert. Miller, and in genetically-modified mice by Dr. Popko.

Dr. Miller's lab will perform similar evaluation services for targets identified by each of the other labs, in animal models developed by his lab. In addition, he will collaborate with Dr. Popko the development of new animal models that more closely mimic human multiple sclerosis, as necessary to validate Myelin Repair Foundation therapeutic targets.

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Brian Popko, Ph.D.

Dr. Brian Popko is the Jack Miller Professor of Neurological Diseases, Director of the Jack Miller Center for Peripheral Neuropathy and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Neurology at the University of Chicago.

With a long-standing interest in disorders of the nervous system, Dr. Popko's work has centered on glial cells. Of particular interest to Dr. Popko's group are diseases like multiple sclerosis that disrupt the normal function of glial cells and the myelin sheath. Dr. Popko takes a molecular genetic approach to better understand these disorders using state-of-the-art techniques that allow for the manipulation of the mouse genome.

Dr. Popko's expertise in genetic manipulation to produce animal models that either do not produce a specific protein (knock-out), or that are induced to produce a non-native protein (transgenic), are essential in the validation of the pathogenic effects of therapeutic targets identified by all other Myelin Repair Foundation researchers.

In addition to testing the effects of target molecules identified by Myelin Repair Foundation researchers in these animal models, Dr. Popko will be working closely with Dr. Miller to develop new animal models that not only more closely mimic the pathogenesis of human multiple sclerosis, but also allow quantitative measurement of myelin formation. This is a critical step in proving the efficacy of myelin repair treatments.

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Other Sponsored Research

From time to time, the Myelin Repair Foundation research plan requires scientific expertise outside the core team of Principal Investigators. The following institutions and scientists are currently conducting sponsored research projects to advance the Myelin Repair Foundation's mission to bring myelin repair therapies to multiple sclerosis patients as rapidly as possible.

Ben Emery, Ph.D.
University of Melbourne, Australia
Continuing studies on GM98/MRF transcription factor

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Contract Research Organizations

To advance the most promising drug targets toward commercial development, the Myelin Repair Foundation partners with contract research organizations (CROs) for critical validation and drug discovery studies. The following CROs have or are currently working with the Myelin Repair Foundation on these studies.

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