Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Two Wesleyan Scientists Named 2012 Female Leaders

The Hartford Magazine included two Wesleyan Professors on its list of 13 of "the most important, influential, innovative and intelligent women in Greater Hartford." Laura Grabel and Jan Naegele are both developmental neurobiologists, hailed for pioneering work aimed at using embryonic stem cells to treat neurodegenerative disease.

Laura Grabel is a resident of the City. She has worked with embryonic stem cells for over 20 years, and has long advocated for human stem cell research. Grabel is co-director of the state's Human Embryonic Core Facility, which supports research using human stem cells at other research institutions in the state. Grabel has done extensive research on the mechanisms by which embryonic stem cells develop into more specialized types of cells, such as blood vessels or neurons.  She is also testing methods to transplant neurons derived from embryonic stem cells into brains that have been damaged by disease.

Jan Naegele is "opening up new possibilities for treating epilepsy through stem cell therapy," according to Hartford Magazine. In temporal lobe epilepsy, the death of inhibitory neurons is thought to play a significant role in the hyperactivity of neurons that underlies epileptic seizures. In collaboration with Grabel, and Wesleyan colleague Gloster Aaron, Naegele is testing whether these lost inhibitory neurons can be replaced by transplantation of stem cell derived inhibitory neurons.

Naegele serves on the professional advisory board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut, which has its headquarters on Main Street.


Anonymous said...

TERRIFIC! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Science is a beautiful thing. Congrats.