An emerging area of research called immunometabolism investigates how the metabolism of immune cells affects their function. But for the most part, this area remains largely understudied when it comes to the brain because it’s such a complex structure.
Pictured: Graduate student Alireza Kamyabi demonstrates his research on a recent tour of the MacVicar lab by the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation.
Pictured (left to right): Drs. Fabio Rossi, Freda Miller and Brian MacVicar have joined forces to better characterize an understudied part of the brain.
New research is always exciting, but in order to spread the word about new findings, papers need to be accepted and published in academic journals. The number of citations a researcher has under their belt from these publications is one way they’re judged when it comes to academic opportunities like grant applications. Despite the wide-spread use of citation metrics, they’re often misused and there’s a lot of confusion around how they should be interpreted.
Pictured: Dr. Bernier discusses microglia morphology with Dr. Nick Weilinger, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Brian MacVicar's lab. Image credit: Paul Joseph/UBC.
Pictured: Elisa York at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. Image credit: Paul Joseph/UBC. This article originally appeared at centreforbrainhealth.ca.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and Elisa York, a PhD student in Dr. Brian MacVicar’s lab found that in addressing a need in her own research she could solve a larger problem for other researchers studying microglia (the brain’s immune cells).
“In theory, cerebral edema is a very simple issue; it’s the movement of water from the blood into the brain by osmosis, causing brain swelling. When water is drawn into nerve cells, the brain expands in the skull and that’s where you see severe complications from stroke or traumatic brain injury,” explains Dr. Nick Weilinger. “My work in the MacVicar Lab is focused on trying to understand the underlying causes of brain swelling. What are the mechanisms driving the edema?”
The MacVicar lab has implemented two-photon microscopy and uncaging techniques to investigate and visualize complex interactions in the brain. The application of advanced imaging techniques has allowed his lab to make significant contributions to our understanding of how neuronal activity is regulated and how to protect nerve cells during stroke.