The Byrnes laboratory is investigating several avenues for therapeutic targeting of neurotrauma, including utilization of intranasal insulin and targeting the microtubule editing enzyme fidgetin-like 2. 

Our research has shown that insulin applied intranasally can a) reach both deep brain structures and far into the spinal cord; b) have beneficial effects in reducing inflammation and increasing glucose uptake.  As a result, intranasally delivered insulin (INI) can reduce post-injury inflammation, improve neuronal survival, and improve recovery after both spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury.  Funded by CDMRP, the Byrnes lab is collaborating with a team at HealthPartners Minnesota to explore translation of INI into the clinic for both brain and spinal cord injury.

Our research has also shown that targeting fidgetin-like 2 (FL2) can have immunomodulatory effects on microglial cells in vitro.  In vivo, FL2 downregulation improves functional recovery after spinal cord injury.  In a study funded by the NIH, the Byrnes lab is collaborating with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Microcures, Inc. to explore the therapeutic ability of FL2 downregulation while also investigating its mechanism of action.

Additional studies in the laboratory are exploring novel PET imaging tracers for diagnostic and prognostic use over the lifespan after brain and spinal cord injury (funded by USU), the difference between porcine, human and rodent microglia in responses to injury in a collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University (funded by NIH), and growth hormone alterations after brain injury (funded by the VA).



Publication List
Dr. Byrnes Bio
USU Office of Research