Facial Nerve Regeneration Lab
Identifying New Means of Treating Facial Paralysis
Facial paralysis is a debilitating condition that affects thousands of people. The loss of movement on one side of the face can distort the appearance of one’s face during emotional expression, impact speech, the ability to eat and drink normally, and the health of one’s eye. When appropriate, surgery can help to rehabilitate a patient with facial paralysis. Despite excellent surgical technique, we are currently limited by the regenerative capacity of the body and perfect symmetry is impossible to restore.
We do this by exploring the regenerative cues that are normally used to restore tissue after nerve injury, in particular through pathways of neurogenesis, nerve injury response, and Schwann cell response after injury.
Fibroblasts and Facial Nerve Regeneration
Lineage tracing in transgenic mice reveals a unique population of injury-responsive fibroblasts that are present within the facial nerve, and respond impressively to injury. These cells appear to help restore the three dimensional architecture of the nerve after injury, and may represent a new therapeutic target for the treatment of high grade facial nerve injury.
Schwann Cell Response in Facial Nerve Regeneration
Merlin expression in Schwann Cells after injury
A key signaling gene, Merlin, has been shown to drive P75 expression in Schwann Cells after injury. Knockout models of Merlin regenerate more slowly than wildtype counterparts. Our current research explores other key signaling pathways that drive the glial response to facial nerve injury.
Communicative Participation in Facial Paralysis
Communication in Facial Paralysis
Comparison of communicative participation (as reflected by CPIB theta scores +/- SD) between facial paralysis and other populations cited from previously published literature. Facial paralysis appears to cause a profound deficit in communicative participation.
Ways to Get Involved
Join our Team
Accelerate our Research
Please specify "Facial Nerve Regeneration Lab" in the "Special Instructions/Other Designation" field.