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Isola Brown

Isola BrownCooperating Doctoral Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology

EITS Track: Biomedical Toxicology

Education: B.A., University of Pennsylvania, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Research Interests:
Coordinated interactions between the neurons and glia of the enteric nervous system (ENS) are responsible for autonomic control of gastrointestinal function, particularly gastrointerstinal motility. Damage to the ENS underlies motility dysfunctions associated with a number of diseases including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chrohn's Disease and advanced age. Previous research has shown that increased oxidative stress is one mechanism through which enteric neurons may be damaged. In my research, I will investigate the hypothesis that increased levels of reactive oxygen species cause neuron death, resulting in motility dysfunction, and determine the mechanism by which this neuon death occurs. Paricularly, I will be investigating the neuroprotective function of glial cells and how this changes with increased oxidative stress.

In additional research related to this, I will investigate the effects of exogenous neuroprotective compounds on the ENS nad particularly, whether they function by interfering with the oxidative stress mechanism. One such compound is the antioxidant N-Acetyl Cysteine, which has been shown to have neuroprotective functions within the central nervous system (CNS). In the course of my research, I will be investigating whether compounds such N-Acetyl Cysteine exhibit neuroprotective functions within the ENS, and if so, the mechanism by which they function.

Major Professor: Brian Gulbransen, Neuroscience Program, Department of Physiology