The Sherman Lab is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which neural stem/progenitor cell and glial cell proliferation and differentiation are regulated, and how to manipulate these cells to promote functional recovery in neurodegenerative diseases and following nervous system injuries, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and perinatal brain injury. In particular, we have explored the functions of the glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan and its receptor, CD44, following a number of insults to the brain and spinal cord including MS in humans and models of demyelinating diseases in rodents and non-human primates. The lab integrates molecular, biochemical, morphological, behavioral and electrophysiological analyses to explore novel strategies to influence demyelination and promote remyelination.
The Sherman Lab has also explored how neural stem cell populations can be utilized to promote remyelination, and demonstrated how manipulating the matrix in neural stem cell niches can influence adult neural stem cell proliferation, neurogenesis, and changes in learning and memory.
Finally, the Sherman Lab examines fundamental mechanisms underlying oligodendrocyte and neuronal differentiation, with a focus on the roles of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling factors in regulating neuron and glial cell-specific gene transcription. In related studies, they have identified a novel role for one SWI/SNF subunit in regulating the transcription of genes in Schwann cells that promote changes in sensory nerve signaling. These studies have revealed a novel mechanism of pain experienced in patients with schwannomatosis.
Collectively, our work has revealed novel mechanisms underlying how the CNS responds to demyelinating and neuroinflammatory insults, and we have demonstrated new ways to promote nervous system repair by targeting changes in the injured CNS extracellular matrix.