David Stirling, Ph.D.
David P. Stirling
Department of Neurological Surgery and Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Laboratory of Advanced Optical Imaging
The Stirling laboratory uses advanced optical imaging techniques (e.g., two-photon spectral microscopy) to investigate intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms of white matter degeneration in living tissue following trauma to the nervous system. A major thrust in the laboratory is to understand the role of microglia, the immunocompetent cells of the CNS, and blood-derived immune cells (neutrophils and monocytes) in central myelinated fiber degeneration following spinal cord injury (SCI). Utilizing two-photon intravital microscopy to image genetically encoded fluorescent proteins in these cells, his team tracks, quantifies, and interrogates the role of neuroinflammation in SCI pathophysiology as these dynamic events are unfolding in real time. Second, his team also focuses on intrinsic mechanisms of central myelinated fiber injury following trauma utilizing a combination of in vivo and ex vivo live spinal cord preparations to visualize the dynamic response of spinal axons to injury in real time. Techniques instrumental to our research include advanced optical imaging, flow cytometry, cellular, molecular, biochemical, and behavioural analyses.
It is hoped that the new knowledge gained from these basic science studies will uncover key mediators that play a role in axon and myelin damage, and pave the way for therapeutic interventions to promote tissue sparing and improve neurological outcome following human SCI. (Click this link for more research information)