University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Neurobiology of Aging and Disease

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Dr Pehar

Prevention and Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases

The main goal of Dr. Pehar’s research program is to understand the molecular mechanisms linking aging to the development of neurodegeneration, with the aim to identify new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, Dr. Pehar’s lab focuses on understanding the role of neurotrophin signaling in the progression of neurodegenerative process. Neurotrophins have the ability to promote either survival or death, depending on the cell type considered and physiological context.

During aging and pathological conditions, the increased production or decreased clearance of free radicals leads to oxidative stress and post-translational modification of signaling proteins such as neurotrophins. Dr. Pehar’s group identified a new mechanism by which the ability of neurotrophins to induce cell death is regulated by post-translational oxidative modifications. Dr. Pehar’s research is seeking to better understand the signaling pathways activated by oxidatively modified neurotrophins in order to identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Active Research Projects:

  • Neurotoxicity of oxidatively modified NGF in neurodegenerative diseases.  The main goal is to identify targets for therapeutic intervention.
  • Molecular mechanisms of astrocyte-mediated neurotoxicity in aging and disease. The overall goal is to develop neuroprotective therapeutic strategies using astrocytes as the main target.

Dr. Pehar Faculty Biography