Title of Research Project: Study of White Matter Development in Childhood Neurologic Diseases

Name of Investigator(s): S. Ali Fatemi, MD

Brief Description of Summary Research, including Goals and Objectives:

Childhood leukoencephalopathies are a heterogeneous group of disease affecting the central nervous system white matter and as a group are a common cause of neurologic disability in infants and children. The student’s mentor is a pediatric neurologist and neurogeneticist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute with clinical and research expertise in leukoencephalopathies that affect newborns and young infants, while his lab studies the development of white matter in rodent models of these diseases.

It is thought that ischemic, inflammatory, or toxic-metabolic insults in the immature brain can lead to abnormal oligodendrocyte development and resulting abnormal myelination, however, there is increasing evidence that the injury will also affect axonal development. Recently developed high-resolution in-vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques allow assessment of white matter integrity. The objective the student research are to employ advanced MRI techniques and histological methods to better understand the involvement of white matter in animal models of leukoencephalopathies and in pediatric patients with this group of diseases.

Scope of Duties for Research Student:

The trainee will be trained and then be involved in:

  1. Diffusion tensor imaging data analysis
  2. Postmortem brain sectioning
  3. Histological and immunohistochemical techniques
  4. Developmental neuroscience

A minimum of 5 hours per week of commitment is required.

Level of Student Education and Major/Discipline Desired:

Neuroscience, Biology and PreMed undergrads, or medical students.