SPECIAL SEMINAR Thursday, February 1, 2018

In Hong Yang, PhD
Research Associate Faculty
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Johns Hopkins University
Principal Fellow (Associate Professor)
SYNAPSE. National University of Singapore

Axonal Engineering for Neoroprotection

My field of study is the Regenerative Neural Engineering.  I have interests in using models of Disease/Organ on a Chip and Bioelectronic Medicine to study the repair and regeneration of diseased or damaged nerve tissues.  I will review three research topics in my group has been working on: (1) Identification of drugs for axon growth and chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (2) Neural activity-dependent myelination by electrical, optogenetic, and magnetic stimulation, (3) Bionic nerve interface for neural prosthesis. 

Topic (1) covers the identification of drugs for axon growth and regeneration.  Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is a major clinical problem because it is the dose-limiting side effect of a significant number of anticancer drugs. Currently, there are no effective therapies aimed at halting the progression of or reversing the distal axonal degeneration caused by anti-cancer drugs. We have identified that fluocinolone acetonide (FA), an FDA-approved corticosteroid drug, is neuroprotective against PTX-induced peripheral neuropathy (PN) in vitro and in vivo. 

Topic (2) covers the enhanced myelination of axons by oligodendrocyte with electrical, optogenetic, and magnetic stimulation.  Demyelination of myelinated axons in the nervous system is the most devastating feature of various neurological diseases.  Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) play an important role in the repair of demyelination for a number of neurological diseases and injuries due to their potential to differentiate into new myelinating oligodendrocytes.  However, for unknown reasons, there is a limit in the remyelination of axons by endogenous oligodendrocytes.  We have investigated that the therapeutic potential activity- dependent myelination by electrical, optogenetic, electromagnetic stimulation.

Topic (3) covers the development Bionic Nerve Interface.  Peripheral nerve injury afflicts a large segment of the, often young, population due to accident or disease – at a great cost to society and quality of life. Regenerative and repair solutions are highly experimental and do not address the problems and challenges of long regeneration times and loss of muscle function, such as dexterous hand function.   We are currently developing an implanted bionic nerve interface to enhance the interaction between axon-microelectrode.