The Tissue Injury Branch conducts clinical and laboratory-based studies on the mechanisms of tissue injury, including the identification of molecular targets and pathways activated in response to cellular damage, to provide greater understanding of the pathophysiology associated with tissue injury and identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention. The research focuses on the following areas:


Brain Injury Unit (Principal Investigator: Dr. Jessica Gill)

This research program examines the risks for neurological and behavioral symptoms following traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions through the discovery of blood-based biomarkers. The research is focused on identifying biomarkers in military personnel, athletes, and civilians to improve the clinical care provided to individuals with brain injuries and concussion. The goal of this research area is to develop and improve monitoring and intervention methods to prevent the risks posed from brain injuries, and to improve the care of these individuals if they develop chronic neurological or behavioral symptoms and deficits.

Vascular Biology Unit (Principal Investigator: Dr. Mary Engler)

Heart disease, stroke and hypertension are among the top conditions that cause functional disabilities. This research area focuses on dietary factors and nutrients that are associated with the development of cardiovascular disease and symptoms, the role of nutrition interventions, and personalized nutrition based on individual genomic profiles.

Neuromuscular Symptoms Unit (Principal Investigator: Dr. Katy Meilleur)

The focus of this research is to measure and treat symptoms of various forms of congenital muscle disease, most of which have no treatment and are associated with severe morbidities and mortality. To that end, clinical outcome measures are being developed and tested in congenital myopathies and muscular dystrophies and tested for feasibility, validity and reliability in preparation for clinical trials. The validated measures will then be implemented in interventional trials in an effort to find treatments for patients with congenital muscle disease.

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