Neuroscientists in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS) are integrating both cutting-edge, basic research and clinically-relevant, translational research. Such research includes the mechanisms by which environmental factors interact with the genetic background to induce pathology and dysfunction in neurological diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders. Specific research areas range from whole animal behavior to the cellular, epigenetic, and genetic levels. Neuroscience faculty members within the department are also part of the Texas A&M University Institute of Neuroscience.
The four main focus areas are:
- Basic neuroscience – intracellular signaling network at both post-transcriptional and post-translational levels, ion channel properties and function, synaptic plasticity, neuroimmunology, glial biology, myelination and interactions between neurons and glia.
- Neurodegenerative diseases and potential therapeutics. Understanding the pathogenesis of various neurological disorders for the development of potential therapeutics. Specific diseases include: autism, cerebral palsy, hereditary neuronal system degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, meningoencephalomyelitis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonian symptoms, various retinopathies, macular degeneration, neurotrauma, and neuro-oncological diseases. Infectious diseases of the nervous system induced by retroviruses and picornaviruses, and the role of psychological stress in susceptibility to diseases of the nervous system are also under investigation.
- Neurotoxicology – The impact of environmental toxicants on the nervous system, including development, behavior, gene expression and epigenetics, and the onset of puberty. The toxicants under current investigation include: alcohol, lead, mercury, cadmium, manganese, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and organophosphorous compounds.
- Translational Research – Pre-clinical trials to assess safety and efficacy for translation to human clinical trials for gene therapy, gene editing, stem cell therapy, and other pharmacological therapies in disorders such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.