Tech receives $367K to evaluate brain injury treatment

Louisiana Tech University will receive $367,623 in federal funding for preclinical research related to neurological disorders, specifically to evaluate treatments that could help mitigate the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Dr. Teresa MurrayThe money will support research in Tech’s Integrated Neuroscience and Imagine Lab Center (INI), directed by Dr. Terri Murray, in the University’s Biomedical Engineering Center. An Edmondson/Crump Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Murray said the immediate damage from TBI can cause inflammation that “can last for weeks or months.

“It can eventually cause long-lasting memory and emotional problems,” she said. “We’ll test a combination of drugs that should reduce inflammation, which will prevent these problems from developing.”

The funding is for two years, after which Murray plans to apply for a larger grant once results are generated from this one — so about six years of research could stem from this original grant.

“Louisiana Tech University is once again leading the charge into research that could change the lives of thousands of Americans — including our brave men and women in uniform — who suffer from traumatic brain injury,” Congressman Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, said when recently announcing the funding.  

“Northern Louisiana is home to the I-20 Tech Corridor, which is rapidly emerging as a home for STEM education and research to diversify our economy and build a more robust workforce,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier to see our home institutions taking the initiative to solve the most important problems we face as Americans.”

Murray said her lab will “optimize the delivery of the drugs to the brain and the treatment schedule by looking at the effects the different treatments on the health of brain cells, the balance of key brain chemicals, and performance in behavioral tests in mice.”

The project’s other key players:

Murray’s PhD student, Claire Jones, who earned an MS in Biology from Tech and then joined INI to work on her doctorate research in the Molecular Science and Nanotechnology (MSNT) program;

Murray’s grant co-principle investigators (Co-PIs), Dr. Jeoung Soo Lee, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Clemson University in South Carolina, and Dr. Prabhu Arumugam, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Tech.

Murray, who joined Tech as an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in 2011 after completing a postdoctoral training program at Yale University, is also collaborating with former Tech doctoral student Dr. Chelsea Pernici and professors at the University of Arizona to help develop a treatment that could prevent memory and emotional problems in patients suffering with TBIs.