David Meaney, S.R. Pollack Professor and Chair, Department of Bioengineering,University of Pennsylvania

“The Role of NMDA Receptor Mechanosensitivity in Regulating the Repair of Neural Circuitry after Traumatic Injury”

Mechanical forces influence the development, maintenance, and degeneration of the nervous system at many length scales. In this talk, we identify the molecular domains of the NMDA receptor that regulate its unique mechanosensitivity, and study how this mechanosensitivity is a key aspect that underlies the role of the NMDA receptor in traumatic brain injury (TBI). We use imaging-based methods to study how receptor mechanosensitivity influences the synchrony of neural circuits. We examine how the local coherence of activity in mechanically injured circuits regulates their repair, and test how neuroglial coupling regulates this repair process. We explore potential upstream therapeutic targets to reverse these mechanically-regulated changes in neural circuits, and identify a new therapeutic target for reducing impairments in a preclinical model of TBI.

David Meaney is S. R. Pollack Professor and Chair in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Meaney joined the Penn Engineering faculty in 1993 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MS and PhD degrees in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. His current research focuses on understanding the mechanical cues that regulate injury, repair, and growth in cells and tissues of the central nervous system. Applications of the work include understanding the causes and treatments for traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. He holds a secondary appointment in the department of neurosurgery within the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn. Dr. Meaney serves as the chair of the department of bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The author of numerous journal and conference publications, Dr. Meaney’s work has appeared in a broad spectrum of venues, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Clinical Neurology, the Journal of Neuroscience, and the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. He has received numerous awards including the William J. Stickel Gold Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the John Paul Stapp Award, and the Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award in the field of bioengineering.

When: Thursday March 14, 2013 4:10 PM

Where: 1005 GBSF