Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke

Cell culture of neurons

A common and simple definition of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. TBI is the number one cause of death and disability in the pediatric population. In addition, there well over 5 million individuals in the United States currently living with chronic disability related to a previous TBI.

Ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot in the brain, whereas a hemorrhagic stroke is caused when blood escapes the vasculature either through a leak or rupture resulting in brain toxicity. Stroke is the fourth most common cause of death and the leading cause of major disability in the United States.

At UC Davis, we have a team of neuroscientists that ranges from cellular and molecular to systems and ultimately clinician scientists who are dedicated to the study and the development of novel therapies for TBI and stroke.  For example, questions our neuroscientists are addressing in their laboratories include:

  • What are some of the major cellular and molecular pathways involved in the long-term pathology related to chronic disability in TBI and stroke?
  • What are the primary causes and consequences of cell death following injury?
  • Are there biomarkers (i.e., blood, tissue, EEG) that can help predict the severity of the initial injury or the potential for recovery of function?
  • How can we apply novel and innovative technologies (genomics, gene-encoded sensors, advanced microscopy, neuromodulation, PET, MRI, etc.) to better characterize the effects of injury on long-term brain anatomy and function?
  • Can we use our findings related to mechanism of injury to develop novel and targeted interventions to improve outcome following TBI or stroke?
  • How much what plasticity remains in the tissue surrounding the injury, or in the uninjured portions of the brain? Are there ways to enhance plasticity?

Faculty studying traumatic brain injury and stroke