Urs Stephen Rutishauser: Projects

Circadian Rhythms

The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is the home of the mammalian clock. This tissue, which exhibits a daily cycle of PSA expression, not only sends clock information to many different tissues but also adjusts the clock with respect to changes in light and activity. Studies from our group have shown that PSA has a fundamental role in the plasticity required for clock adjustments.

Response to Stress and Pain

We have proposed that the expression of PSA in nervous system regions that process inputs from chronic insults, such as pain and stress, provides in effect a “circuit breaker” that limits damage caused by these inputs.

Repair of Neural Tissue

Most regions of the central nervous system (CNS) have a limited capacity for repair, largely due to the inability of damaged axons to grow back to their targets. During development, PSA facilitates this process, and because most regions of the adult CNS no longer express PSA, we are conducting studies to determine if viral delivery of PSA-synthetic capability into regions of nerve damage could facilitate the restoration of connections.