Imitola Laboratory for neural stem cells and functional neurogenetics

Jaime Imitola, M.D.,
Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience
The James Comprehensive Cancer Center, Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Dr. Imitola’s laboratory at The Ohio State Wexner Neurological Institute was established on February 1st, 2014. Dr. Imitola trained as clinician-scientist at Harvard Medical School under the guidance and collaboration of Professors Samia J. Khoury1-12 and Christopher A. Walsh,10-13 and served as affiliated faculty of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) and junior faculty of the Ann Rommey Center for Neurological Diseases (CND) at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. In addition, Dr. Imitola is a board certified Neurologist and fellowship-trained Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and neuroimmunology specialist. The goal of the Imitola laboratory is to use molecular biology and genetics approaches to perform translational, patient-oriented research in neuroimmunology of stem cells in neurological diseases.

Areas of Research:
  1. Functional neurogenetics of stem cells: Understanding the phenotypes of patient-derived in vitro models of neurological diseases and identification of molecules for neural stem cells function during injury16.
  2. Mechanisms of stem cell plasticity in personalized models of inflammatory-induced neurodegeneration: We use different stem cell platforms to model neuroimmunology mechanisms to find new targets for neurodegeneration and repair14 in MS.
  3. Influence of immune system on stem cells with aberrant genetic circuits for proliferation and migration: In collaboration with Balveen Kaur, PhD and the James Comprehensive Cancer Center, we investigate the mechanisms of glioma stem cells (GSC) responses to an immune microenvironment.
Selected Publications (complete PUBMED publication list)
  1. Imitola, J. et al. Neural stem/progenitor cells express costimulatory molecules that are differentially regulated by inflammatory and apoptotic stimuli. Am J Pathol 164, 1615-25 (2004).
  2. Imitola, J., Chitnis, T. & Khoury, S.J. Insights into the molecular pathogenesis of progression in multiple sclerosis: potential implications for future therapies. Archives of neurology 63, 25-33 (2006).
  3. Rasmussen, S. et al. Persistent activation of microglia is associated with neuronal dysfunction of callosal projecting pathways and multiple sclerosis-like lesions in relapsing--remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Brain : a journal of neurology 130, 2816-29 (2007).
  4. Imitola, J. & Khoury, S.J. Neural stem cells and the future treatment of neurological diseases: raising the standard. Methods Mol Biol 438, 9-16 (2008).
  5. Pluchino, S. et al. Persistent inflammation alters the function of the endogenous brain stem cell compartment. Brain : a journal of neurology 131, 2564-78 (2008).
  6. Imitola, J. et al. Multimodal coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy reveals microglia-associated myelin and axonal dysfunction in multiple sclerosis-like lesions in mice. J Biomed Opt 16, 021109 (2011).
  7. Rasmussen, S. et al. Reversible neural stem cell niche dysfunction in a model of multiple sclerosis. Annals of neurology 69, 878-91 (2011).
  8. Starossom, S.C. et al. Galectin-1 deactivates classically activated microglia and protects from inflammation-induced neurodegeneration. Immunity 37, 249-63 (2012).
  9. Merzaban, J.S. et al. Cell surface glycan engineering of neural stem cells augments neurotropism and improves recovery in a murine model of multiple sclerosis. Glycobiology (2015).
  10. Imitola, J. et al. Directed migration of neural stem cells to sites of CNS injury by the stromal cell-derived factor 1alpha/CXC chemokine receptor 4 pathway. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101, 18117-22 (2004).
  11. Nieto, M. et al. Expression of Cux-1 and Cux-2 in the subventricular zone and upper layers II-IV of the cerebral cortex. The Journal of comparative neurology 479, 168-80 (2004).
  12. Sheen, V.L. et al. Mutations in ARFGEF2 implicate vesicle trafficking in neural progenitor proliferation and migration in the human cerebral cortex. Nat Genet 36, 69-76 (2004).
  13. Imitola, J. et al. A novel 2q37 microdeletion containing human neural progenitors genes including STK25 results in severe developmental delay, epilepsy, and microcephaly. Am J Med Genet A (2015).
  14. Orack, J.C. et al. Concise review: modeling multiple sclerosis with stem cell biological platforms: toward functional validation of cellular and molecular phenotypes in inflammation-induced neurodegeneration. Stem Cells Transl Med 4, 252-60 (2015).
  15. Dietrich, J., Imitola, J. & Kesari, S. Mechanisms of Disease: the role of stem cells in the biology and treatment of gliomas. Nat Clin Pract Oncol 5, 393-404 (2008).
  16. Wang, Y., Imitola, J., Rasmussen, S., O'Connor, K.C. & Khoury, S.J. Paradoxical dysregulation of the neural stem cell pathway sonic hedgehog-Gli1 in autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis.i Annals of neurology 64, 417-27 (2008).
  17. Gabriely, G. et al. Human glioma growth is controlled by microRNA-10b. Cancer Res 71, 3563-72 (2011).