Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. We are dedicated to developing new therapies to help cardiac patients by identifying, testing, and moving new therapies towards clinical use. We study stem cell therapies to prevent heart damage and promote repair. We use biomaterials to increase cell retention, increase efficacy, and target activity.
Dr. Coulter is a Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist through the APTA practicing in the field of pediatrics for 38 years. For the past 28 years, Dr. Coulter has worked alongside orthotists and prosthetists in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Department at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She is the team leader for the Limb Deficiency Program and has taught and lectured on topics relating to development and limb deficiencies in children. Dr. Coulter also serves as the physical therapist in the Cranial Remolding and Scoliosis Programs at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta The focus of one of her studies is the effect of torticollis on the skull, posture and movement. For the past 8 years, she has joined the Children’s team teaching the MSP&O students at GA Tech and is involved in the clinical rotations of the GA Tech MSO&P students and physical therapy students on clinical affiliations at Children’s. She is an adjunct assistant professor at Emory University Department of Physical Therapy.
Neuromodulation using multielecrode arrays, closed loop control theory, and optogenetics for epilepsy and movement disorders. Computational modeling of epilepsy networks for model-based and non-model based feedback control of optogenetic and electrical neuromodulation. Neurorestoration using gene and cell-therapy based approaches for degenerative and injury conditions.
The Translational Neuroengineering Research Lab uses neuromodulation for epilepsy using a combination of the following advanced techniques: 1) Multimicroelectrode electrical stimulation using novel parameters informed by optimization of input/output relationships (both model- and non-model based MIMO) using closed-loop control theory including adaptive learning and machine learning approaches; 2) Optogenetic activation and inhibition using all forms of available channels including step-function opsins. These approaches identify novel brain regions that have more widespread control and targets specific cell types for activation and inhibiton. Closed loop control using multielecrode arrays informs and controls neuromodulation. 3) Hardware independent ‘luminopsins’: novel gene therapy approaches combining bioluminescent proteins with optogenetic channels for hardware independent, widespread and activity-regulatable neuromodulation. We use a combination of in vitro models, animal models (mouse, rat, non-human primate) and human patients undergoing epilepsy and deep brain stimulation surgery as our experimental models.
In addition, the laboratory has developed novel gene therapy vectors for neurorestoration targeting key pivotal proteins regulating axon outgrowth in regenerative situations, including for Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and retinal degeneration.
In 2009, Khalid started his own lab at Emory University, where he currently investigates biophysical aspects of receptor-mediated cell signaling. To achieve this goal, his group has pioneered the development of molecular force probes and nano-mechanical actuators that are integrated with living cells. These materials are used to investigate the molecular mechanisms of a number of pathways where piconewton forces are thought to be important. These pathways include the Notch-Delta pathway, T cell receptor activation and the integrin-based focal adhesion pathway.
Development of insulin gene therapy as a treatment for diabetes mellitus, investigations into hepatocellular effects of ectopic insulin production, and transdifferentiation of autologous somatic cells to produce regulated insulin secretion. Viral vectors using a metabolically regulated, hepatic specific promoter to express human insulin normalizes blood sugars in diabetic animals.
The Brewster Laboratory is interested in determining the effect of altered biomechanics and extracellular matrix formation during arterial remodeling after vascular intervention in stiffened and diseased arteries. Using animal models and human arterial tissue, I quantify the in and ex vivo contribution of the cellular and extracellular matrix to biomechanical forces of the artery in stiffened and healthy states. In turn these forces manipulate the cellular and extracellular matrix composition of these arteries during remodeling, and this response is different in stiffened arteries, which are commonly encountered clinically. Thus understanding of this pathologic remodeling in model and human tissue is novel and critical to the development of intelligent therapeutics.
The Pacifici laboratory has pioneered the field of osteoimmunology and osteomicrobiology. The current main focus of the laboratory is the role of the microbiome in bone in health and disease. We are also interested in the mechanism of action of probiotics in bone. The laboratory is specialized in conducting in vivo studies in mice treated with PTH or subjected to ovariectomy. We use genetic models, retroviral transduction, bone marrow transplantation, T cell transfer and in vivo treatments with hormones, cytokines, antibodies and probiotics. Typical end points include sophisticated flow cytometric analysis of bone marrow cells and microCT and histomorphometric analysis of bone structure. The lab is equipped with in vivo and in vitro microCT scanners. We have been the first to recognize that T cells play a pivotal role in the mechanism of action of estrogen and PTH in bone by regulating osteoclast and osteoblast development and function. More recently we have shown that the gut microbiome plays a role in mediating the skeletal response to estrogen deficiency and PTH. We have shown that mice lacking T cells are protected against the bone loss induced by estrogen deficiency and hyperparathyroidism. We have has also shown that T cells regulate the number and function of mesenchymal stem cells. We have investigated the mechanism by which T cells mediate the expansion of hemopoietic stem cells caused by estrogen deficiency and PTH. Another main focus is to understand why “intermittent” PTH treatment causes bone anabolism while “continuous” PTH treatment causes bone loss. We hypothesize that the response to PTH depends on the effects of this hormone on T cell production of Wnt10b and TNF. We are currently investigating the mechanism of action of probiotics in bone, and conducting a clinical trial to determine the efficacy of the probiotic VSL#3 in preventing postmenopausal bone loss.
Dr. Trumbower's research focuses on neural mechanisms underlying the control of movement and posture in persons with neuromotor deficits such as spinal cord injury and stroke. The goal is to identify and prescribe therapeutic interventions that target impaired neural structures and promote functional recovery.