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WVU Researchers Continue Studies to Decrease Stroke Morbidity and Mortality

DeVries

Simpkins

MORGANTOWN — A group of West Virginia University researchers will continue a basic and translational study to decrease the morbidity and mortality related to stroke.

WVU School of Medicine researchers Courtney DeVries and James Simpkins were awarded $11,383,100 for a five-year competing renewal of their previous Stoke CoBRE Phase II P20 award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Stroke morbidity refers to the burden of stroke experienced by its survivors. More than half of individuals who survive stroke experience chronic disability, including deficits in learning and memory and even emotional changes such as depression.

These disabilities result from stroke-related changes in the brain, including neuronal death, vascular remodeling, inflammation and changes in the ability of surviving neurons to communicate effectively.

“Being able to clarify the physiological cascade of events that occur after stroke is an important first step in understanding risk factors,” DeVries said, noting West Virginia currently ranks seventh in the U.S. in stroke prevalence. “It will also help to develop effective prevention strategies and treatments.”

Phase II of the project will continue the studies into stroke through the improved understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of stroke. The research will be achieved through stroke researchers at WVU and with the expansion of WVU’s cutting-edge research core facilities.

Each of the CoBRE supported project leaders is studying how manipulation of a specific aspect of the cascade affects the neurological and behavioral deficits induced by stroke, with the hope of discovering a new therapeutic target.

The Stroke CoBRE project leaders include Candice Brown, Werner Geldenhuys, Eric Kelley, Edwin Wan and Zachary Weil.

“I am excited to work with Dr. Simpkins and my colleagues at the Health Sciences Center to support the development of stroke researchers at WVU,” DeVries said. “The intellectual and institutional infrastructure created through the WVU Stroke CoBRE award is certain to accelerate progress toward this important goal.”

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