Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship (2016 funding round)

Dr Joanne Davidson
The University of Auckland
Extending the window of opportunity for saving babies brains
48 months

Lay summary

Oxygen deprivation around the time of birth can result in brain damage and lifelong disability. Treatment options for these babies are extremely limited and only partially effective. In order to develop new treatment options, we need to understand how brain damage occurs. I have previously shown that connexin hemichannels are involved in the spread of injury within the first three hours after oxygen deprivation. Realistically, most babies are not able to be treated this quickly. The aim of this research is to investigate the channels and receptors that may to contribute to the spread of injury after connexin hemichannel opening, such as pannexin hemichannels and purinergic P2X7 receptors. These channels and receptors are likely to be activated by the toxic molecules released from cells via connexin hemichannels. Blocking channels and receptors downstream of connexin hemichannels may successfully prevent the spread of injury and allow for treatment to be started later.

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