Our laboratory is interested in methods to assess nerve injury and improve nerve regeneration. We have collaborations with the Optical Radiology Laboratory to develop probes to assess nerve injury intra-operatively and predict degree of nerve damage. Utilizing animal models, we have been able to identify factors that can predict long term outcome of nerve injury, immediately after the injury occurs. Work is underway to develop and optimize optical imaging agents that can assist surgeons with localizing nerve injury and assist with decision making intra-operatively using currently available technology. A second focus of our lab is optimization of nerve regeneration after injury and repair. We collaborate with the Department of Genetics to evaluate mechanisms of inhibiting Wallerian degeneration in a rat model using gene therapy. Our early work in this arena has shown promising results and we intend to pursue further work using knockout animal models to better understand the role of Schwann cell dedifferentiation on Wallerian degeneration and nerve repair.