You are here

Regeneration and Reconnection of Axons in the Visual System

Weekly Seminar
Who Should Attend: 


Guest Speaker
Kevin Park, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

Poor regeneration of central nervous system (CNS) axons is a major obstacle for treating trauma and diseases. This is particularly true for retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) whose axons form the optic nerve. There are as yet no therapies to repair optic nerve once the damage is done. Our past studies have demonstrated that simultaneous modulation of genes and neurotrophic factors promotes long distance regeneration of some RGCs in adult mice. However, promoting axons not only to regenerate into the lesion, but to travel long distances and reconnect their central targets is still a major challenge. In fact, we and others have reported various degrees of axon misguidance where a few axons reinnervate brain targets while many fail to do so. It is unclear what cellular and molecular factors contribute to the limited (or successful) pathfinding and target reinnervation. At present, very little is known about axon guidance mechanisms in adult mammalian visual system after injury. Thus, one of the goals in my research is to examine the cellular and molecular factors that determine axon guidance and target selection during development and in adults after injury. Another goal of my research is to elucidate molecular mechanisms that underline axon regeneration failure. We and others have found that distinct proteins in mature neurons block axon regeneration. In new studies, I combine mouse genetics and bioinformatics and examine differential regenerative capacities among different RGCs and seek to delineate the molecular mechanisms that confer regeneration ability to select neuronal populations.

Kevin Park, PhD Figure


Bray ER, Noga M, Thakor K, Wang Y, Lemmon VP, Park KK, Tsoulfas P.
3D Visualization of Individual Regenerating Retinal Ganglion Cell Axons Reveals Surprisingly Complex Growth Paths.
eNeuro. 2017 Aug 29;4(4). pii: ENEURO.0093-17.2017. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0093-17.2017. eCollection 2017 Jul-Aug.
Xueting Luo, Marcio Ribeiro, Eric R. Bray, Do-Hun Lee, Benjamin J. Yungher, Saloni T. Mehta, Kinjal A. Thakor, Francisca Diaz, Jae K. Lee, Carlos T. Moraes, John L. Bixby, Vance P. Lemmon, and Kevin K. Park.
Enhanced Transcriptional Activity and Mitochondrial Localization of STAT3 Co-induce Axon Regrowth in Adult Central Nervous System
Cell Reports, (2): 398-410, 2016
Lee DH, Luo X, Yungher BJ, Bray E, Lee JK, Park KK.
Mammalian target of rapamycin's distinct roles and effectiveness in promoting compensatory axonal sprouting in the injured CNS.
J Neurosci. 2014 Nov 12;34(46):15347-55. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1935-14.2014.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 12:30pm


Burke Medical Research Institute
785 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
United States
Conference Room: 
Billings Building – Rosedale

Research Methods