The objective of this K01 proposal is to establish an innovative research strategy and sound career development plan for Dr. Candice Brown to successfully transition to an independent investigator in neuroscience. The research plan implements a novel, multidisciplinary approach to test the hypothesis that the ovarian estrogen, 17?-estradiol (E2), modifies sepsis-induced brain dysfunction by altering the inflammatory mechanisms at the brain-micro vascular interface. The experimental approach uses a cecal ligation and puncture model of sepsis-induced brain dysfunction, commonly referred to sepsis-associated encephalopathy (SAE). SAE results in neurological impairment in ~70% of sepsis patients, and therapeutic options for treatment are limited.
Aim 1 will employ intravital microscopy combined with molecular biology to determine whether E2 attenuates vascular inflammation at the brain-micro vascular interface.
Aim 2 will use magnetic resonance imaging combined with immunocytochemistry to determine whether E2 attenuates cerebral edema and metabolic dysfunction in the early and late stages of sepsis. The career development plan has four specific aims designed to achieve short and long term career goals. These include: 1) Mastering surgical techniques and microscopy imaging tools; 2) Acquiring competency in MRI and its capabilities to use as tool to study acute brain dysfunction; 3) Improving presentation, publication, and craftsmanship skills, and 4) Gaining faculty development skills to become a productive science-citizen in academia. Completion of Research and Career Aims will provide broad competencies and a valuable set of tools to establish a productive independent research program and enhance the diversity of the neuroscience community at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Public Health Relevance

Brain damage from inflammation occurs in approximately 70% of patients with sepsis; the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Ovarian estrogens exert powerful anti-inflammatory activity on the brain's vascular system and determining whether estrogen decreases brain inflammation in sepsis can guide future therapies designed to protect brain function and diminish loss of life.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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NST-2 Subcommittee (NST)
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Wong, May
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West Virginia University
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United States
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Brichacek, Allison L; Brown, Candice M (2018) Alkaline phosphatase: a potential biomarker for stroke and implications for treatment. Metab Brain Dis :
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Engler-Chiurazzi, E B; Brown, C M; Povroznik, J M et al. (2017) Estrogens as neuroprotectants: Estrogenic actions in the context of cognitive aging and brain injury. Prog Neurobiol 157:188-211
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