Gordon S. Mitchell, September 8


SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series September 8

Gordon S. Mitchell

Department of Comparative Biosciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA

After completing his PhD at the University of California at Irvine (USA), and postdoctoral work at the Max Planck Institute in (Germany), Gordon S. Mitchell became a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin in 1980. There, he rose through the ranks, and became Professor and served as Chair of the Department of Comparative Biosciences for 17 years. He has received numerous awards for his research, including a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, and the title of Steenbock Professor in Behavioral and Neural Science. He will soon move to the University of Florida where he will start a new Center for Respiratory Biology and Rehabilitation. His research focus concerns cellular mechanisms of spinal respiratory plasticity, and the application of that knowledge to develop novel therapeutic strategies for spinal injury and motor neuron disease in both animal models and humans.

Intermittent hypoxia induced motor facilitation: implications for spinal injury and motor neuron disease

Repeated exposure to brief episodes of low oxygen (repetitive acute intermittent hypoxia; rAIH) elicits mechanisms of spinal plasticity in respiratory motor control. We have harnessed this capacity by using “low dose” rAIH to restore lost breathing capacity in rodent models of cervical spinal injury and motor neuron disease. A major surprise was that, in addition to breathing capacity, rAIH also triggers recovery of limb function in rodent models and humans with chronic spinal injuries. Combined with traditional rehabilitation strategies and (for example) cell based approaches, we hope to develop comprehensive treatments for devastating clinical disorders that impair respiratory and non-respiratory motor function, including SCI and ALS. In this lecture, I will describe the main model respiratory motor plasticity that has guided our thinking, and initial attempts to harness this plasticity for therapeutic advantage.

 

Host: Elena Kozlova