Very much as a mechanic wants to fix broken or out-of-order things, at the Fitzsimons lab we dream with repairing the brain and counteract neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment.
To this objective, we focus on a group of damaging insults that modify the proliferation and function of neural stem cells, resulting in the presence of abnormal neurons and circuits, and cellular alterations in the hippocampus.
Our central hypothesis is that a group of common brain-damaging insults such as concussions and head injuries, stroke, epileptic seizures, chronic stress, neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, aging, et cetera, modify the proliferation capacity and other key biological functions in neural stem cells present in the adult brain, thereby contributing to the cellular changes associated with brain disease and affecting cognition.
We use a “multi-omics” approach based on transcriptomics, proteomics, microRNA profiling and single-cell RNA sequencing techniques that allow us to characterize specific gene expression profiles in neural stem cells, associated with brain-damaging insults.
We complement this multi-omics approach with super-resolution microscopy and spatial transcriptomics techniques to understand how specific gene expression profiles can be linked to particular cell states in specific cell populations, behavioral tests to evaluate cognition and gene manipulation in individual cells aiming at developing restorative therapies for the brain.