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Junfang Wu, BM, PhD

Neuroinflammation and Neuroprotection Following CNS Trauma

The focus of research in Dr. Wu’s laboratory is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurological dysfunction following spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), with the ultimate goal of developing potential therapeutic strategies. In particular, we are interested in pathological mechanisms including disruption of autophagy and lysosomal pathway, astrocytic TrkB.T1, microglial Hv1 channel, NOX2, extracellular vesicles (EVs), and their contribution to neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in both acute CNS trauma and aging conditions including chronic SCI/TBI and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (AD/ADRD).

Specifically, we focus on: (1) Demonstrating the function and the mechanisms of autophagy-lysosomal pathway in SCI. (2) Elucidating molecular mechanisms responsible for SCI-induced brain neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. (3) Investigating the role of plasma and tissue extracellular vesicles (EVs) in secondary injury after CNS trauma. (4) Examining the function and mechanism of voltage-gated proton channels Hv1 on neuroinflammation and neuropathic pain after experimental SCI and TBI. (5) Elucidating the inflammatory mechanisms underlying olfactory dysfunction in the TBI model and its correlation with late-onset dementia-related pathology.

Multidisciplinary approaches include rodent models of SCI and TBI, diverse behavioral evaluation, characterization of EVs, quantitative image analysis, as well as molecular and cellular biology.

Active Grants

NIH R01 NS094527-05S1
The New Roles of the Autophagy-Lysosomal Pathway in Spinal Cord Injury-Mediated Dementia
Junfang Wu 
Role: PI
NIH R01 NS110825
The Function and Mechanisms of Voltage-Gated Proton Channel Hv1 in Spinal Cord Injury
Junfang Wu / Long-Jun Wu (MPI)
Role: PI
NIH RF1 NS110637-01
Dementia After Spinal Cord Injury: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targeting
Junfang Wu / Steven Jay (MPI)
Role: PI
2019 - 2024
NIH R01 1NS110635-01 
Mechanism of Inflammatory-related Brain Dysfunction after Spinal Cord Injury
Alan Faden / Junfang Wu (MPI)
Role: PD/PI
2019 - 2024
NIH R01 NS110567
Targeting Brain Inflammation and Neurological Dysfunction in Sepsis
Wei Chao / Junfang Wu / Lin Zou (MPI)
Role: PD/PI
2019 - 2024
NIH R01 2NR013601 
Spinal Mechanisms Underlying SCI-Induced Pain: Implications for Targeted Therapy
Susan Dorsey / Junfang Wu / Alan Faden (MPI)
Role: PD/PI
2012 - 2022
NIH R01 NS094527
The Function and Mechanisms of Autophagy in Spinal Cord Injury
Junfang Wu (PI)
Role: PI
2016 - 2021