Research in the Thompson Laboratory is focused on the functional repair of injuries to both the central and peripheral nervous system with an emphasis on Neuronal-Glial Interactions. Following injury intact networks need to be protected, scarring minimized, lost cells/tissue (neurons, glia, microvessel) replaced/regenerated to restore lost function. In vivo, non-neural cells (e.g. glia and neural progenitors) or implanted at the injury present site influence neuronal re-growth; the ability to examine these in vivo cell-cell interactions is limited. Neuronal guidance is influenced by cues from the local injury site (soluble factors, extracellular matrix, substrate-bound ligands and non-neural cells) as well as external forces (matrix stiffness, electrical and magnetic field strength). Due to the complexity, it is unlikely that a single intervention will be successful and a combinatorial approach is needed.
Work ongoing in the Thompson lab is focused on examining cells in a multi-cellular platform, integrating biomedical engineering and neuroscience to study and orchestrate the functional repair of the injured brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerve. Research efforts in the Thompson laboratory are focused from the molecular to tissue levels.