Dr. Monica J. Carson
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Division of Biomedical Sciences

A.B., 1982 Bryn Mawr College
Ph.D., 1990 University of Pennsylvania
Post-doctoral training, The Scripps Research Institute

Office : (951) 827-6089
Fax : (951) 827-5504
e-mail : monica.carson@ucr.edu
Microglia are the tissue macrophage of the central nervous system (CNS). Their activation is a common feature of nearly all CNS neuropathologies, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Alzheimer's disease and stroke. As yet their relative contributions toward neuroprotection and neurodestruction are a subject of high debate. A further complication confounding this debate, are our observations that CNS-resident microglia and acutely infiltrating inflammatory macrophages play distinct roles during regeneration and pathogen defense.

The general research focus of my lab is to: Define the role of microglia versus infiltrating immune cells in the developing and inflamed central nervous system.
Specifically we seek to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying receptor-mediated triggers of their neuroprotective / neuroregenerative promoting functions versus their cytotoxic/ anti-pathogen defense functions.

Here, we plan to utilize embryonic stem (ES) cells in two complementary research directions.
First, ES cells have the demonstrated potential to not only act as replacement cells. They can also promote repair by altering the inflammatory environment present in many degenerative disorders. Microglia are exquisite biosensors of subtle changes in the CNS microenvironment and their molecular activation state will be used to identify and define environmental influences of ES cells in models of CNS neurodegeneration.
Second, within the CNS, microglia are highly abundant in brain regions with endogenous stem cells/progenitor cells. In collaboration with other investigators at UCR, we will ascertain the molecular activation states of microglia and infiltrating macrophages that are compatible with ES survival in vivo.

More information on the Carson Lab

President-elect American Society of Neurochemistry
Program chair for the 37th Annual meeting of the American Society of Neurochemistry
Advisory committee on Fellowships for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
NIH F03A Biochemical and Molecular Neuroscience Fellowship study section
American Federation for Aging Research National Scientific Advisory Council
Editorial Board of GLIA


See publications on PubMed
Home | People | Research | Events | Courses | Outreach | Links | Give A Gift | Headlines | Contact Us | WebMaster