The Dore-Duffy laboratory has for many years been interested in translational neuroscience. In particular her lab has focused on asking scientific questions in the hopes of delineating the cause and ultimate cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke and traumatic brain injury. With a background training in immunology, cell biology and virology she focused her research endeavors to look at the complex communication between cells of the immune system and those of the brain. In particular her lab focuses on transcellular communication between leukocytes and cells of the microvasculature (endothelial cells, pericytes) and parenchymal cells of the CNS (astrocytes, neurons and microglial cells). They are asking very basic questions on of how cells talk to one another and how this governs development of disease and response to traumatic injury. They feel that a better understanding of this complex communication will help them learn how the brain repairs. Fundamental questions on how immune cells gain access to the brain and how the brain responds to injury may lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches.
Dr. Dore-Duffy has studied the role of the microvascular pericyte in human disease and is considered one of the leading experts on pericyte physiology. Her lab identified the pericyte as a source of adult stem cells and is investigating the use of these cells (in particular human fat pericytes) as an approach to therapeutic intervention in neuro-degenerative diseases, aging, traumatic brain injury, and brain tumors. They are particularly excited about using pericytes as carriers in drug delivery.
The Dore-Duffy laboratory utilizes several animal models to study neurodegenerative diseases. One model is an immune mediated model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and the others are both acute and chronic cuprizone-mediated demyelination and remyelination. The laboratory is also testing various pharmacologic drugs in preclinical studies. Recent projects also include the cell to cell communication and differentiation of the pericyte, regulation of angiodynamics in response to hypoxic stress and induction of re-myelination and repair in chronic neurodegenerative disease animal models.