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Carolanne E. Milligan, PhD




Medical College of Pennsylvania (1992)


Studies of the events of central nervous system (CNS) development contribute not only to our understanding of developmental processes, but also lay foundations for understanding pathological conditions. Many individual factors are known to play key roles in CNS development, including extracellular matrix molecules, trophic factors, cytokines and individual cellular populations.

The interaction of such factors and cells mediate developmental events to prompt precise development of a functional, mature CNS, and while pathological events are not necessarily identical to those in development, understanding regulation and function in a "defined" physiological developmental situation will provide an understanding of possible regulation and function in pathology.

The research focus of my laboratory is to understand the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate neuronal death and survival, critical events during CNS development and in pathological conditions such as spinal cord injury and neurodegenerative disorders. By using a well defined developmental model of avian spinal motoneuron death, we have begun to identify some of the "players" of neuronal cell death during CNS development.

These molecules and events also appear to have substantial roles in neurodegenerative disorders, and we believe that by developing ways to modulate these we may be able to provide protection for injured cells that would normally die and allow them to recover.

Recent Publications

Taylor, A.R., D.J. Gifondora, J.M. Newbern, M.B. Robinson, J.L. Strupe, D. Prevette, R.W. Oppenheim, and C.E. Milligan  (2007)  Astrocyte and muscle-derived secreted factors differentially regulate motoneuron survival.  J. Neurosci. 27(3): 634-644.

Taylor, A.R., M. Robinson, and C.E. Milligan  (2007)  In vitro methods to prepare astrocyte and motoneuron cultures for the investigation of potential in vivo interactions.  Nature Protocols 2(6): 1499-1507.

Newbern, J., A. Taylor, M. Robinson, M.O. Lively, and C.E. Milligan  (2007) c-Jun N-terminal kinase signaling regulates events associated with both health and degeneration in motoneurons.  Neuroscience 147(3): 680-692.

Taylor, A.R., M.B. Robinson,  D.J. Gifondora, M. Tytell, and C.E. Milligan  (2007)  Regulation of heat shock protein 70 release in astrocytes:  Role of signaling kinases.  Develop. Neurobiol. 67(13): 1815-1829.

Gifondora, D.J., M.B. Robinson, C.D. Hayes, A.R. Taylor, D. M. Prevette, R.W. Oppenheim, J. Caress, and C.E. Milligan  (2007)  Exogenous delivery of heat shock protein 70 increases lifespan in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  J. Neurosci. 27(48): 13173-13180.

Robinson, M.B., A. R. Taylor, D.J. Gifondora, M. Tytell, and C.E. Milligan (2008)  Exogenous Hsc70, but not thermal preconditioning, confers protection to motoneurons subjected to oxidative stress.  Develop. Neurobiol. 68: 1–17.

Macosko, J., J.M. Newbern, J. Rockford, E.N. Chisena, C.M. Brown, G.M. Holzwarth, C.E. Milligan (2008)  Fewer active motors per vesicle may explain slowed vesicle transport in chick motoneurons after three days in vitro. Brain Res. (In Press).

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Neurobiology & Anatomy

Phone 336-716-4368

Dr. Barry E. Stein

Dr. Barry E. Stein, Chairman
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC  27157-1010
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