January 26, 2018

Sunnybrook’s Dr. Bojana Stefanovic, a CPSR researcher, has been awarded a $918K research grant from CIHR for her project entitled: Modulating peri-ischemic neuronal hyperexcitability

The stroke model this grant is based upon  — and some of the insights on cerebrovascular modulations — were first established in Dr. Stefanovic’s lab thanks to CPSR catalyst funds and salary support.

Read the lay summary of the research here:

Despite the availability of treatments for clot dissolution in the acute and rehabilitation regimens in the chronic stage, most stroke patients suffer significant long-term disabilities and many are institutionalized.

Development of more effective therapies is hindered by the uncertainty surrounding the cellular changes required for complete recovery. Recent evidence suggests that the activity of the neurons in the peri-infarct zone, the damaged but potentially salvageable brain region surrounding the site of stroke, greatly influences recovery.

Using advanced imaging techniques in rats, Dr. Stefanovic’s team will monitor the function of peri-infarct neurons in the hours following stroke induction.  They will inject the brains of these rats with viruses that carry specific membrane channels to allow them to modulate the activity of peri-infarct neurons non-invasively, by illuminating them with light of specific wavelength.

These finely controlled experiments will allow them to determine activity levels of these neurons that minimize short- and long-term functional deficits. They will then attempt to achieve comparable activity profiles by tuning the dose of locally delivered anti-convulsants.

These experiments will establish the ways by which brain functioning can be affected early post stroke so as to improve neuronal function. The insights gained will guide the development of next generation, non-invasive treatments that can be readily combined with current therapies to enhance recovery from ischemic stroke.


Read more about Dr. Stefanovic’s research here: http://www.canadianstroke.ca/en/about-us/dr-bojana-stefanovic/