Welcome to the Victor Rafuse Laboratory
Our goal is to understand the fundamental principles that control the differentiation, growth, and survival of neurons during development and after nerve injury. The ultimate objective of these studies is to provide scientific information that will guide and support the development of treatment strategies designed to treat neurological disorders such trauma to the spinal cord, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), peripheral nerve injuries, spinal muscle atrophy, and Parkinson's disease. My lab routinely uses multiple approaches (electrophysiology, molecular biology, state-of-the-art real time imaging) and model systems (genetically modified mice, chicken embryos, tissue culture) to understand neural development and regeneration.
Currently the lab has four main research interests:
1. the directed differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells into functional motor neurons in order to repair damaged tissue
2. the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to study motor neuron diseases and mechaisms of repair
3. understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating motor axon guidance during development
4. characterizating how cell adhesion molecules regulate repair after a nerve injury