Benavides Laboratory Research
Neurobiology of Antibody-Mediated Injury in Neurological Disease
Translating research into targeted therapeutics requires a multifaceted understanding of the pathophysiology of neurological diseases. To better understand abnormal neuronal function due to dysregulation of the immune system, we examine how antibodies develop and hone to targets in the central nervous system.
For example, anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis causes cognitive and psychiatric changes, seizures, coma and even death when antibodies target NMDA receptors on neurons.
To date, it is not clear how these pathological antibodies target and alter neuron function. Understanding that process is our long-term goal.
Clinical Neuroscience Database and Biorepository
UMMC provides an excellent environment to capture the clinical data needed to develop a comprehensive database and biorepository in clinical neuroscience.
The University of Maryland’s Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research and the UM SOM Clinical and Translational Research Informatics Center (CTRIC) are coordinating the expansion of patient-derived samples and the translational research using them. These collaborations include investigating various neurologic conditions, including neuroinflammatory diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury and brain tumors.
Emerging evidence supports an important role for immune dysfunction in the pathogenesis of many neurological diseases. These resources enable functional analyses of patient-derived samples and the identification of candidate pathways for targeted neurotherapeutics.