MRC Project Grant awarded to Dr. R. Wykes for evaluating stroke impact through graphene-enabled nanotechnology

by | Jan 15, 2024 | Awards, News, Research | 0 comments

Dr Rob Wykes along with Professor Stuart Allan and Professor Kostas Kostarelos, have been awared a £1.3m MRC Project Grant. Dr Wykes, from our Nanotechnology for Brain Disease theme, will lead the project Evaluating the impact of spreading depolarisations, post stroke, in the awake brain using graphene enabled nanotechnology”

Waves of pathological brain signals called spreading depolarisations (SDs) are known to worsen stroke outcome. SDs spontaneously occur post stroke and spread through the brain. As SDs propagate they depolarise brain cells resulting in almost complete ion homeostasis failure. SDs can further reduce cerebral blood flow in areas of the brain that are already experiencing restricted blood flow, and recovery from SD is extremely energy demanding. A key problem when conducting research to design therapeutic strategies to suppress SDs is the lack of pre-clinical electrophysiological technology capable of detecting and mapping SDs with high spatiotemporal resolution. The Wykes lab has successfully collaborated with partners on the EU Graphene Flagship, specifically the material scientists and electrical engineers at research institutes in Barcelona (ICN2 & CNM-CISC) who designed and fabricate arrays of graphene-based neurophysiological probes. The team have demonstrated that they are capable of recording SDs across large areas of brain and are useful for studying pathological brain signals in intact brain. The researchers now aim to bring this cutting-edge technology to preclinical stroke research to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of SD initiation and their involvement in worsening stroke severity. This work will be a crucial first step in the maturity of this technology towards future clinical translation where they anticipate that it will greatly facilitate management of patients in the neuro-intensive care units.  Furthermore, they aim to design a liposomal-based advanced therapeutic strategy that suppresses SDs to reduces stroke core expansion.

Read more about the research happening in the Wykes Lab here.