Mitochondrial Genome Damage in Neurologic Disease

William D. Parker, MD

The objective of this project is to conduct extremely in depth sequencing studies of mitochondrial DNA recovered from blood platelets from patients with several different sporadic brain diseases.  The specific hypothesis is that patients with a given brain disease will have more point mutations in regions of mitochondrial DNA than will be found in healthy controls.

Congenital Spine Stimulator

Julian Lin, MD

Sponsoring Agency: Children’s Miracle Network

Simulation is a useful tool for training residents and in ascertaining competency.  One of the most common procedures in pediatric neurosurgery is spinal cord detethering.  Prior to “real-time and hands-on” experience in operating on actual patients, simulation will allow trainees to learn anatomy and the steps wise progress in an actual procedure.  Obtaining technical proficiency outside of the operating room should ultimately result in better outcomes.  Currently, there are no available congenital spine simulators.  We propose to design and fabricate a high fidelity congenital spine simulator that will allow trainees to simulate common congenital spine surgeries such as spinal cord detethering.  The simulator will be modular and materials used will be as life-like as possible.  In addition, the simulator will provide electrophysiological feedback and include components such as simulated nerve roots, spinal cord, CSF etc.  The project will be carried out by four senior Bradley mechanical engineering students during the academic year 2011-12.  There will be quarterly reports and presentations at a national pediatric neurosurgery conferences as well as preliminary filing of patent are expected.