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Associate Professor of Nursing and NeuroscienceView CV
Dr. Laree Hiser is actively involved with basic science research, in addition to teaching in all degree programs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing and the Ph.D. program in neuroscience. She earned her doctoral degree in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Research interests include understanding the cellular events that happen in response to demyelination in diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, and in response to cancer chemotherapy drugs, such as vincristine that cause peripheral neuropathy.
A variety of modern techniques in molecular and cell biology are utilized in the laboratory with the ultimate goal of developing therapies for demyelinating disorders. Research includes developing a method for differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells into cultures containing neurons and neuroglia and have shown by electron microscopy that axons are myelinated in these co-cultures. Treatment with various chemicals and drugs causes demyelination.
An immunoassay is being developed with the goal of facilitating early differential diagnosis between neuromyelitis optica (NMO; Devic diease) and multiple sclerosis.Studies are ongoing to discover molecular targets and therapeutic solutions to prevent demyelination, stabilize demyelinated neurons, or promote remyelination. Researchers currently are developing new assays to study function of the myelinated and demyelinated neurons using time-lapse microscopy to measure axonal transport rates. The marker for transport rates was prepared using standard molecular biology techniques. It is then transfected into cells so that neurons will have a characteristic fluorescence. Another assay using a fluorescent plate reader is being developed for high-throughput screening of agents for neuroprotection. A study using mice is testing the efficacy of administering a candidate neuroprotective drug in combination with vincristine to prevent neuropathy. Mechanisms of drug interactions are being studied using proteomics techniques including mass spectrometry. Other techniques that are used in the laboratory include DNA microarrays, quantitative (real-time) RT-PCR and immunoblots.
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