The Fernandes Lab
Laboratory of Neural Stem Cell Biology




We are a basic science research laboratory whose goal is to develop novel approaches for helping the brain and spinal cord repair itself from neurodegenerative diseases and injuries. Our research is specifically focused on unravelling the biology and therapeutic potential of neural stem cells. Neural stem cells are a recently discovered population of primitive, embryonic-like cells that persists within the adult nervous system. They continue producing new brain cells, or "neurons", that are believed to be important for higher brain functions such as learning, memory, and mood regulation.

Our current challenges are to understand the basic biology of neural stem cells, how they are affected by injury, disease, and aging, and how they can be therapeutically regulated to promote nervous system regeneration. To investigate these questions, we are using a variety of experimental approaches that include transgenic mice, stem cell tissue culture, immunohistochemistry, fluorescence/light/electron microscopy, biochemical and molecular techniques, proteomics, and in vivo surgical and genetic strategies. We are currently studying neural stem cells in experimental models of aging, Alzheimer's disease, disorders of the spinal cord, and physical and cognitive activity.