Kurt M. Gibbs, Assistant Professor Biology
Spinal cord injury, central nervous system (CNS) development and regeneration.
The work in my lab is focused on studying CNS repair and regeneration in response to spinal cord injury. We use Xenopus laevis and tropicalis frogs as a model system because they have the ability to regenerate their spinal cords as tadpoles, but fail to do so as adult frogs. This decline in CNS regenerative capacity with progressing development is observed throughout the vertebrate subphylum, from amphibians to mammals. In Xenopus embryos, we have easy access to all stages of embryonic development, beginning at the single cell stage, which facilitates genetic manipulations that are very difficult in “higher” vertebrates. In addition, their rapid development and transparent skin (albino tadpoles) allow us to identify anatomical and phenotypic differences that result from genetic and small molecule manipulations. Using classic and cutting edge histological, molecular biology, and cell transplantation techniques, our goal is to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms of successful CNS regeneration, with hope that our findings will contribute to further understanding failed CNS regeneration in humans.
*Yu, Y.M., *Gibbs, K.M., Davila, J., Campbell, N., Sung, S., Todorova, T.I., Otsuka, S., Sabaawy, H.E., Hart, R.P. & Schachner, M. (2011) MicroRNA miR-133b is essential for functional recovery after spinal cord injury in adult zebrafish. Eur J Neurosci, 33, 1587-1597.
Otsuka, S., Adamson, C., Venkatachalam, S., Gibbs, K.M., Goldsmith, N.K., Ayer, J., Babiarz, J., Kalinski, H., Ashush, H., Alpert, E., Lahav, R., Feinstein, E., and Grumet, M. (2011) Delayed Intrathecal Delivery of RhoA siRNA to the Contused Spinal Cord Inhibits Allodynia, Preserves White Matter, and Increases Serotonergic Fiber Growth. Journal of Neurotrauma, 6, 1063-1076.
Gibbs, K.M.,Chittur, S.V. & Szaro, B.G. Metamorphosis and the regenerative capacity of spinal cord axons in Xenopus laevis,Eur J Neurosci., November 9, 2010.
Gibbs, K.M. & Szaro, B.G. Regeneration of descending projections in Xenopus laevis tadpole spinal cord demonstrated by retrograde double labeling, Brain Research, 2006, May 9; 1088(1): 68-72.