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Neurodegeneration is a progressive destruction of the central nervous system. Neurodegeneration can be triggered by external factors, such as through stroke or spinal cord injury, or by as yet undefined internal factors, such as in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases or multiple sclerosis. Functional recovery after neurodegeneration is limited. Because of this limited recovery, neurodegenerative diseases are the leading cause of adult disability. However, recent discoveries have provided new insights into mechanisms of central nervous system repair and regeneration. Neurodegeneration stimulates neural stem cells to repopulate lesion sites, induces new connections to form with partially damaged areas, and promotes new neural networks for the recovery of lost functions. These recent discoveries hold the promise for novel therapies that promote neural repair and functional recovery after central nervous system injury. The mission of the Neural Repair Affinity Group is to foster multidisciplinary collaboration to promote scientific discoveries that will improve functional recovery after central nervous system injury and degeneration.

The Neural Repair Affinity Group is a collection of 40 basic and clinical scientists from 14 departments that focus on topics of degeneration and repair in the central nervous system. Scientists in the Neural Repair Affinity Group focus on research issues that include:

1) The mechanisms of initial damage and neuroprotection in multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury and Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
2) The formation of new connections, or axonal sprouting, in the brain and spinal cord after injury
3) The repair of damaged brain and spinal cord with stem cell transplantation or through the recruitment of endogenous stem cells within the central nervous system
4) The formation of new neural networks in the brain and spinal cord through neurorehabilitation and pharmacological therapies

The core functions of the Neural Repair Affinity Group are supported by the UCLA Training Program in Neural Repair and the UCLA Brain Research Institute. The Training Program in Neural Repair (MF Chesselet-principal investigator) funds graduate student and post-doctoral research fellowships to train future investigators in the field, and supports the Neural Repair Seminar Series. The Neural Repair Seminar is a weekly series that involves all aspects of the Neural Repair community through its rotation of speakers from graduate student, post-doctoral fellow and principle investigator levels, and invited distinguished visiting professors. This weekly rotation through different training levels provides a lively forum for the discussion of new scientific findings and ideas and the development of collaborations.

· Affinity Group Summary
Affinity Group Participants
· How to Join


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