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Funded Projects

Along with the generous support of donors, the Brain Injury Association of America is committed to finding cures for brain injury.

“Meningeal and Trigeminal Contributions to Post-TBI Pain” 
Seed Grant of $25,000
Grantee: Orion Furmanski, Ph.D., Uniformed Services University (Dept. of Anatomy, Physiology, and Genetics)
Mentor: David Mears, Ph.D.

Posttraumatic headache (PTH) is characterized by increased headache frequency and/or severity following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Current treatments for headache often fail to provide adequate relief for PTH. Improving treatment for PTH has been hindered by lack of knowledge on how TBI alters the nervous system to cause chronic headaches. We propose preclinical experiments to examine TBI effects on nerves of the dura mater, the protective jacket between the brain and skull. We hypothesize that dura mater injury promotes inflammation and abnormal pain processing that contribute to PTH.  

“The Epidemiology of Comorbidities and Associations with Functional Outcome among Adults with TBI.”
Seed Grant of $24,893
Grantee: Raj Kumar, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Rehabilitation and Human Performance)                 
Mentor: Kristen Dams-O’Connor, Ph.D.

As rates of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) increase and the population ages, there is an unprecedented urgency to understand the burden and implications of health morbidity on TBI recovery. Prior TBI studies are limited by incomplete disease characterization and under-representation of older adults, necessitating use of population-based data. Existing indices focus on predicting acute mortality (not function) and exclude diseases associated with TBI. We propose: 1) to use an administrative dataset to characterize disease prevalence, and 2) to create a functionally-relevant comorbidity index. 

“Precision identification and targeting of rod microglia in diffuse brain-injured cortex”
Dissertation Award of $5,000
Grantee: Katherine Giordano, University of Arizona College of Medicine (Child Health)
Mentor: Jonathan Lifshitz, Ph.D.

Neurological insults, such as traumatic brain injury, trigger inflammation signaling that go on to activate microglial cells. In this proposal, we investigate lesser-known microglia subtype, the rod microglia, to determine cell surface markers and gene expression unique to their occurrence after diffuse traumatic brain injury. These rod microglia markers could serve as biomarkers in the diagnosis and prognosis of injury and recovery from neurological injury.

“Impact of Intestinal Inflammation on Long-Term Neurological Outcomes Following TBI in Mice”
Dissertation Award of $5,000
Grantee: Marie Hanscom, University of Maryland-Baltimore (STAR-ORC)
Mentor: Terez Shea-Donohue, Ph.D.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes peripheral organ dysfunction including gastrointestinal dysfunction. Increased gut leakiness is associated with greater risk of comorbidities in trauma patients. TBI patients surviving longer than 1-year post-injury are more likely to die of sepsis and digestive conditions. Infection with an intestinal pathogen in mice worsened TBI lesion volume. This study examines the effect of intestinal inflammation following TBI on long-term TBI-associated brain injury, inflammation and cognitive dysfunction and the role of the brain-gut axis in TBI disease progression.

 

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For many people, brain injury evolves into a chronic health condition that can cause or accelerate multiple diseases. Through BIAA's Redmann Research Program, we are determined to find a cure for brain injury.

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