Friedman, Wilma J.
Ph.D., The Rockefeller University, 1986
Professional Summary/CV [.PDF]
Department of Biological Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Newark; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
CNS Neurons, Neurologic Diseases, Gila.
Memberships and Professional Service
Member of Study Section, National Institutes of Health, Cellular and Molecular Biology of Gila (CMBG), 2007; Ad hoc Study Section, National Institutes of Health, Cellular and Molecular Biology of Neurodegeneration (CMND), 2007; Ad hoc Study Section, National Institutes of Health, Neurodifferentiaion, Plasticity, and Regeneration (NDPR), 2007.
Grants, Honors, and Awards
Principal Investigator, NIH/NIMH, "A Genetic Approach to Study the p75 Neurotrophin Receptor," 2006-2011; Principal Investigator, NIH/NINDS, "Neurotrophin Actions in the Injured Brain," 2002-2007; Chair, Gordon Conference, "Glial Biology, Functional Interactions Between Neurons and Gila," 2005; Women of Acheivement Award, Israel Cancer Research Fund, 2002.
Academic Interests and Plans
Work in my lab investigates specific cellular mechanisms of cytokine and neurotrophin actions on CNS neurons and glia. We use primary cultures of embryonic neurons and glia to investigate mechanisms by which specific cytokines and trophic factors influence neuronal survival, and to identify stimuli that regulate production of cytokines and trophic factors. Our work is geared to understanding how these factors affect glial and neuronal function, and how they may ultimately influence neuronal survival under inflammatory conditions associated with disease in the brain.
Neurotrophic factors are proteins that influence survival and function of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Recent studies, however, have shown that specific neurotrophic factors may cause neuronal death instead of survival, depending upon which receptors and signaling pathways are activated. We are examining mechanisms governing death- vs. survival-promoting actions of nerve growth factor and related neurotrophins during development and under inflammatory conditions.
Inflammation in the brain occurs as a consequence of trauma and in association with numerous neurologic diseases including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Under inflammatory conditions, glial cells produce cytokines, which directly influence neuronal and glial function. Among the effects of inflammatory cytokines is regulation of neurotrophic factors, which critically influence survival and function of many neuronal and glial populations in the central nervous system. The interactions of cytokines and neurotrophic factors in the brain have important consequences for neuronal survival and function during disease.