The Sretavan Laboratory is actively engaged in research on nerve and axon responses to injury, disease, and on novel methods for nerve repair. Our interest in these areas builds on previous work from the laboratory on developmental molecules that control axon growth and behavior during formation of the nervous system. Collectively known as axon guidance molecules,these proteins bind receptors on cells to activate signaling pathways to fundamentally regulate cytoskeletal assembly/disassembly and calcium handling. Our research group is particularly interested in the functional roles axon guidance molecules may have in the adult nervous system, specifically in the settings of CNS injury and disease.
A new research area for the laboratory is the use of micro and nanosystems as enabling technology for axonal repair. Methodologies for silicon-based fabrication can be combined with sensing and actuation principles to form biomedical devices that operate at the micron length scale of single cells. This field of Micro ElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) engineering, coupled with advances in nanoscience may open up new frontiers in biological research, medical diagnostic and therapeutics. The Sretavan laboratory is leading a multidisciplinary group of researchers in MEMS engineering, nanoscience, biophysics, neurobiology and neurosurgery, to develop a microsystem platform for the microsurgical reconstruction and repair of single axons.