A Kansas State University professor is doing research that may one day help make it easier to recover after spinal cord injury or to study neurological disorders.
Mark Weiss, professor of anatomy and physiology, is researching genetic models for spinal cord injury or diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. He is developing technology that can advance cellular therapy and regenerative medicine — a type of research that can improve animal and human health.
"We’re trying to build tools, trying to build models that will have broad applications," Weiss said. "So if you’re interested in neural differentiation or if you’re interested in response after an injury, we’re trying to come up with cell lines that will teach us, help us to solve a medical mystery."
Weiss’ research team has perfected a technique to use stem cells to study targeted genetic modifications. The research is an important step in the field of functional genomics, which focuses on understanding the functions and roles of these genes in disease.
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The researchers are creating several tools to study functional genomics. One such tool involves developing new ways to use fluorescent transporters, which make it easier to study proteins and their functions. These fluorescent transporters can be especially helpful when studying neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke and spinal cord injury.