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Fines Paid By Speeding Motorists Used in Funding Spinal Cord Injury Research

ocytes are very important in spinal cord injury as well as epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and migraine headaches. With a previous $1.25 million grant through the same program, she has found that soon after a spinal cord injury, astrocytes release high levels of a substance known as ATP that continues to kill neurons for hours after the injury. The new grant enables her team to continue its work exploring ways to lessen the damage from a spinal cord injury by targeting astrocytes.

Noble, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Genetics, is working together with Giger to focus on another aspect of spinal cord injury. In addition to the severing of nerves that is at the core of such an injury, the nerves sustain other damage, including the loss of the myelin covering that enables the nerves to send crisp electrical signals. Noble and Giger will use a two-year, $227,000 grant to try to identify the molecules in the central nervous system that prevent the remyelination of nerves that have been damaged. Noble is an internationally recognized expert in the biology of the specialized cells called oligodendrocytes that provide myelin for nerve cells. He and Giger will explore the complex molecular environment around the site of a spinal cord injury in an effort to find out what stops those cells from fixing damaged nerves in the spine.

In addition to his own research, Noble helps to manage spinal cord research throughout the state through his role as co-director of the New York State Center of Research Excellence in Spinal Cord Injury. The five-year, $15 million effort is funding a consortium of 18 top laboratories in a variety of approaches to ease the impact of spinal cord injury. In Rochester the program funds Noble, Giger, Margot-Mayer Proschel, Ph.D., and Peter Shrager, Ph.D.
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