May 6, 2020 – Featured on the cover of Cell Chemical Biology, a new and significant review article by Dr. Raj Ratan, Executive Director of the Burke Neurological Institute, examines “The Chemical Biology of Ferroptosis in the Central Nervous System.” Evolving over five decades of scientific studies, ferroptosis has emerged as a unique, oxidative stress-induced cell death pathway. In this review article, Dr. Ratan highlights formative studies that fostered ferroptosis recognition in the nervous system and describes how chemical biological tools have been essential in defining events necessary for its execution. Through examining the chemical biology of ferroptosis in the central nervous system, Dr. Ratan reviews emerging opportunities for antiferroptotic agents as therapeutic agents in neurological diseases including traumatic brain injury, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Presently, at the Burke Neurological Institute, Dr. Ratan's scientific efforts have been primarily focused on understanding how neurons respond to physiological stresses, particularly oxidative stress, adaptively and maladaptively at a transcriptional level, and how the balance of these activities leads to neuronal death and impairment, or cell survival and recovery or resistance. During his career, he has published over 160 articles and has edited and contributed chapters to several books. He has received research grants from National Institutes of Health, The New York Department of Health, Dana Foundation and The Thomas Hartman Foundation among other international foundations. Ratan's studies have identified novel transcriptional and epigenetic strategies for limiting neuronal cell death which have identified novel small molecule approach which have been validated in numerous neurological disease models.