Physiology and Biophysics

Bruce Ransom M.D., Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor (with Neurology)

M.D. Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis), 1972
Ph.D. Neurophysiology, Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis), 1972

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Physiology of Glial Cells; Pathophysiology of Ischemic Brain Tissue Injury

My current research focuses on two distinct sets of problems: 1) the physiology and function of mammalian glial cells and 2) the cellular and molecular pathophysiology of ischemic brain tissue injury. Glial cells out number neurons in the brain but their functions are not well understood. Specific studies are aimed at understanding how these cells regulate their transmembrane ion gradients, their role in ionic and volume homeostasis in brain extracellular space, and the role of glial gap-junctional communication in brain function. A subset of experiments explore the hypothesis that glial cells modulate neural excitability and epileptic discharge by altering extracellular pH. The experiments on neural injury are designed to explore the special characteristics of ischemic injury of axons in the brain. This work is motivated by the fact that axons in the CNS are frequently involved in stroke. Our results are helping to define the molecular mechanisms that lead to ischemic axonal injury and have begun to suggest protective strategies.