Stefanie Geisler, MD

Read about Stefanie Geisler, MD

Washington University

2014 Clinical Research Training Fellowship Recipient

Target brain disease(s): Peripheral Neuropathies

Project goal: In hopes of finding ways to keep peripheral nerve fibers alive during chemotherapy treatments, the research investigated whether nerve fibers can be protected by removing or interfering with a certain protein associated with nerve fiber death.

Project description: Peripheral neuropathies afflict millions of people and are the most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States, and are characterized by intense pain, numbness and weakness, mainly in the feet, lower legs and hands. Many neuropathies are caused by the deterioration or death of nerve fibers in the legs and arms. There is currently no cure. A common cause of peripheral neuropathy is chemotherapy.  Recent discovery that a certain protein (called Sarm1) recruits other proteins in what one might think of as a “death pathway” for nerve fibers, Dr. Geisler and colleagues set out to see if removing or interfering with this protein would protect nerve fibers during chemotherapy.  Dr. Geisler is also trying to identify other proteins in this “death pathway”, which may then be targeted therapeutically. We hope that results of these studies will lay the foundation for the development of new treatments for chemotherapy-induced neuropathies.

Funding: Received $130,000 in research funds.