Research : Basic Research

Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Laboratories (CVDRL)

The Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Center at the University of Miami was established more than 50 years ago by Dr. Peritz Scheinberg, the founding Chairman of the Department of Neurology. Initially, its research focused on measurements of human cerebral blood flow in health and disease, and the development of appropriate measurement strategies, under the direction of Drs. Scheinberg and O.M. Reinmuth. Subsequent developments led to studies of cerebral circulatory control mechanisms in large animals. In the mid-1960’s, Raul Busto (Emeritus Professor), in conjunction with Dr. Urban Ponten, established the Center’s small-animal metabolite-analysis facility. In ensuing years, numerous scientists joined the Department of Neurology and the Center laboratory to pursue studies of cerebral ischemia and brain metabolism.

Dr. Myron D. Ginsberg (currently Scheinberg Professor of Neurology) became the Principal Investigator of the Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Center in 1981. Over the ensuing 24 years, the Department of Neurology recruited outstanding investigators to faculty positions with the goal of fostering the strength of the Center. These include W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D. (currently Scientific Director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Kinetic Concepts Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery and Senior Associate Dean for Discovery Science), Brant D. Watson, Ph.D., Mordecai Y.-T. Globus, M.D., Thomas J. Sick, Ph.D., Weizhao Zhao, Ph.D., Ludmila Belayev, M.D., Miguel A. Perez-Pinzon, Ph.D., Rainald Schmidt-Kastner, M.D., and Bingren Hu, M.D., Ph.D., Ricardo Prado, M.D. and Baowan Lin, M.D.

In 2005, Dr. Miguel A. Perez-Pinzon became director of the CVDRC. Dr. Perez-Pinzon, Professor and Vice-Chair of Basic Sciences in the Department of Neurology, strongly complements the Center’s interests with his expertise molecular pathways of cerebral ischemia, with emphasis on mitochondrial and synaptic pathophysiology. His strong leadership qualities and collaborative interests have been crucial ingredients in the Center’s recent accomplishments.

In 2008, Dr. Chantal D’Adesky Scheinberg made a gift to the Department of Neurology to establish The Peritz Scheinberg Cerebrovascular Disease Research Laboratory and Program.

About Us

The objective of the Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Center is to conduct coordinated investigations into the pathophysiology, treatment and prevention of cerebral ischemic injury. Our approach rests upon several assumptions: 1) that an understanding of the mechanisms of brain injury necessitates familiarity with the normal physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology of the central nervous system; 2) efforts to improve the prophylaxis and therapy of stroke should be based upon knowledge of disease mechanisms, and this is best acquired through studies in physiologically controlled experimental animal models. Finally, 3) the probability of success in this complex problem-area is enhanced by bringing a variety of complementary multidisciplinary investigative strategies to bear on the problems under study. The following laboratories are located in the CVDRC:

The Peritz Scheinberg Cerebrovascular Disease Research Laboratory and Program

The laboratory is dedicated in honor of Dr. Peritz Scheinberg’s role as first chairman of the Department of Neurology, for his establishment of a world class Department at the University of Miami and for his contributions to Neuroscience Research in Cerebrovascular Disease. The lab serves as home to 7 researchers and focuses on basic science of cerebral ischemia. An additional gift in 2010 sponsored research by Dr. Ami Raval, Ph.D. (Research Assistant Professor) on the role of estrogen on cerebral ischemia neuroprotection and pathology. The following laboratories belong to these laboratories:

Miguel Perez-Pinzon, Ph.D., Professor. Primary appointment is in the Department of Neurology, where he serves as Vice-Chair for Basic Science. Dr. Perez-Pinzon is Director of the Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Laboratories. Dr. Perez-Pinzon is a Professor of Neurology and the Neuroscience Program (member of this Program Steering Committee). His main research expertise is in the area of cerebral ischemia/metabolism, specifically on the area of ischemic preconditioning in which he has been working since 1995. In 1997, he obtained his first NIH grant on ischemic preconditioning which remains funded. He has expanded his research interest into the field of cardiac arrest and its effects on synaptic dysfunction and cognitive decline. These studies are funded by another NIH RO1 that is funded until 2015 and the cognitive decline is supported by the McKnight Institute. Two additional areas in which he has focused his research are on signaling pathways that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction following cerebral ischemia, these studies are currently funded by another NIH RO1 through 2012.

Kunjan Dave, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology, is Associate Director of the Cerebral Vascular Disease Research Laboratories. Dr. Dave’s main interests are to study the mechanisms by which chronic hypoglycemic events exacerbate brain injury following cerebral ischemia. Dr. Dave’s main funding comes from an NINDS NIH RO1 grant.

Ami Raval, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Raval’s main interests are to study mechanisms of neuronal survival against damage arising from cerebral ischemia. Her ultimate goal is to design gender-based novel therapies for cerebral ischemia/ stroke. Dr. Raval’s main funding comes from the American Heart Association Grant in Aid.

Dileep Yavagal, M.D., is Associate Professor in the Clinical Track in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Yavagal’s research laboratory is engaged in research of Intra-arterial (IA) delivery of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for acute ischemic stroke. His research laboratory uses multiple animal models with the goal of translating this treatment to stroke patients.

Hung Wen (Kevin) Lin, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Lin’s main interests are to study mechanisms of cerebral blood flow dysfunction arising from cerebral ischemia. Dr. Lin’s main funding comes from the American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant.

Claudia Montero-Menei, PhD, is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurology.

An Example of Our Research:

PKC Expression in Hippocampal Pyramidal Neurons