Alumni Alumni in the News In the News

March 20, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Chemistry & Microbiology Alum Studies How Brain Repairs Itself After Stroke

Ohio University alum Dr. Michelle H. Theus, a neuroscientist at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, says she hopes that a better understanding of how the brain restores blood flow to damaged tissue following a stroke will offer new treatment clues for a leading cause of death in the United States, according to a Virginia Tech announcement.

Theus earned a B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Microbiology at Ohio University

Michelle Theus, an assistant professor of molecular and cellular neurobiology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, is investigating how the brain develops “collateral” blood vessels which re-route blood flow after a vessel becomes blocked.

When the brain suffers from a blockage or clot, a network of replacement vessels, known as collaterals, can restore oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissue. The extent of the brain’s collateral network varies from individual to individual and has a significant impact on the brain’s ability to recover from stroke.

“It is widely known, clinically, that patients with an extensive collateral network have greater restoration of blood flow and are better protected from tissue damage following an embolic stroke,” said Theus, who explained that an embolic stroke involves a blood clot forming somewhere in the body and traveling through the bloodstream to the brain.

She is searching for answers about the brain’s natural network of collateral blood vessels, as well as its ability to remodel them after stroke and traumatic brain injury — two areas of study that remain largely a mystery. Last fall, Theus received a three-year, $483,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to begin this research.

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