Geauga Campus Professor Awarded Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Study

Geauga Campus Professor Makes a Difference

Congratulations goes to Daniela Popescu, Ph.D., assistant professor at Kent State University’s Geauga Campus, for being awarded a $44,000 pilot research grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The research is being conducted collaboratively with Ernest Freeman, Ph.D., associate professor, Jennifer McDonough, Ph.D., assistant professor, both at the Kent Campus in the department of Biological Sciences, and Leah Shriver, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Akron.

The grant was awarded for one year, to study the role of vitamin K in remyelination, and to also examine if vitamin K and vitamin D have a synergistic effect on remyelination in a well-known non-inflammatory experimental model of multiple sclerosis. 

To grasp the meaning of this research, it helps to understand how multiple sclerosis affects neurons. Multiple sclerosis is a devastating disease of the central nervous system. In healthy people, myelin surrounds axons in the brain and other parts of the nervous system, to insulate and protect them.  In people with multiple sclerosis, demyelination occurs when the myelin around axons deteriorate. When myelin is damaged, the transmission of electrical signals along axons is impaired, which leads to abnormal messages being sent from the brain to various parts of the body. These abnormal messages are responsible for the various symptoms that people with multiple sclerosis experience, including, for example, spasticity and weakness.  Demyelination can also lead to the damage or destruction of axons. 

In Popescu’s research, demyelination will be induced in an experimental model and then, the formation of new myelin sheaths in the presence or absence of vitamin K and/or vitamin D will be examined. The research team will also investigate to see if neurons are protected from further damage in the presence of vitamin K and/or vitamin D, along with the changes in myelin lipid composition during remyelination, in the presence or absence of vitamin K and/or vitamin D. The changes in myelin lipid composition will be studied by using lipidomics analysis. 

Kent State University at Geauga and the Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg staff and faculty are proud to be part of a top-tier research university with quality professors like Dr. Popescu who focus on major global challenges and ways to make a difference. 

POSTED: Friday, August 21, 2015 - 10:42pm
UPDATED: Saturday, August 22, 2015 - 8:20am