1. Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and prediction of disease progression. There is a great unmet need for a sensitive and specific blood biomarker for early diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), and for evaluating responses to therapeutics. In collaboration with Dr. Vollmer and Dr. Alvarez from the Department of Neurology, we are developing blood antibody-based assays for MS diagnosis and for monitoring patients’ response to therapies. Our recent study showed that MS can be detected with blood IgG markers with 90% sensitivity and specificity. (see the news)
2. MS IgG antibodies as therapeutic targets for drug screening. We have demonstrated that MS serum antibodies produced complement-dependent cytotoxicity in neurons and brain tissues. We further showed that levels of MS serum cytotoxicity can be used to monitor patient response to disease-modifying therapies. In collaboration with Dr. LaBarbera of School of Pharmacy, we are screening drug libraries to targeting MS antibody induced neuronal cell death. (see the news)
3. Phage-displayed random peptide libraries for identification of extracellular vesicles. We have identified high affinity peptides specific for exosomes from brain tumor patients. As multiple PI with Dr. Graner, we are using random peptide approach, we screen and characterize EVs from patients with brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries, MS, and other CNS disorders for identification of EV biomarkers. (See campus news story: A Bait-and-Fish Approach to Netting Deadly Brain Tumor Trigger?).