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Research Program

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Outline of  Karimi research program:

    Karimi's laboratory offers training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in neurosciences and stem cell research. Our research focuses on promoting neural repair and regeneration after injuries to the central nervous system with special interest in spinal cord injury (SCI) and myelin disorders. We  use neural stem cell-based therapeutic approaches in preclinical models of SCI and myelin deficiency. Neural stem cells hold tremendous promise for repairing central nervous system injuries since they have multipotential abilities to replace all damaged neural cells and the potential to provide a supporting environment for regeneration.

    Using complementary in vivo and in vitro approaches, our research team strives to understand how the properties of these stem cells are modulated within the microenvironment of SCI and how they can be efficiently recruited to replace lost neurons and oligodendrocytes. This knowledge is vital to develop new stem cell therapies to functionally enhance spinal cord regeneration.  We specifically focus on developing repair strategies to optimize the replacement of oligodendrocyte, axonal protection and remyelination.

    In our laboratory, we employ an array of advanced approaches in neuroscience and stem cell research that include in vivo spinal cord injury and micro-surgical techniques, stem cell/neural tissue culture, pharmacological drug delivery, cellular, biochemical and molecular techniques, genetic manipulations, fluorescence/confocal imaging, bioengineering approaches, live animal imaging and functional/neurological analyses.
Our research has high translational implications in the fields of spinal cord injury and regenerative medicin


Areas of research interests:
  • Spinal cord repair and regeneration
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Neural stem cells 
  • Neurobiology of spinal cord injury
  • Preclinical therapeutic interventions in spinal cord injury
  • Stem cell transplantation
  • Oligodendrocytes differentiation and remyelination
  • Reactive astrogliosis
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Mechanisms of spinal cord gliogenesis
  • Improving neurological recovery
  • Stem cell/Neural culture studies
  • Neuroanatomical and imaging techniquesNestin

Current projects:

 - Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neural stem cells differentiation in spinal cord injury

 - Developing combinatorial stem cell therapies for enhancing oligodendrocytes replacement and myelin repair following spinal cord injury and myelin disorders

 -  Investigating the modulatory roles of reactive astrocytes and neuroinflammation on neural stem cell differentiation

- Developing bioengineering approaches for stem cell and drug delivery in CNS injuries


2014-2019     CIHR Operating Grant
2012-2017     NSERC Discovery Grant
2012-2013     Canadian Paraplegic Association (Manitoba)
2012-2013     Manitoba Institute of Child Health
2012-2015     Health Sciences Center Foundation
2012-2013     University Research Grant Program
2012               Canada Foundation for Innovation-The Leaders Opportunity Fund
2012-2017     CFI Infrastructure Operating Fund (CFI-IOF)
2012-2013     Thorlakson Foundation
2011-2012     Canadian Paraplegic Association (Manitoba)
2011-2012     Manitoba Institute of Child Health
2010-2013     Manitoba Health Research Council
2010-2011     Manitoba Medical Services Foundation
2010-2012     the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation
2010-2012     the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
2010-2011     University Research Grant Program

Awards to Dr. Karimi's trainees

2013-2014    NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Graduate Studentship to Scott Dyck (declined)
MHRC Studentship to Arsalan Alizadeh
MHRC Studentship to Scott Dyck
2013              American Academy of Neurology Research Scholarship to Dung Hoang Nguyen
2013              U of M Undergraduate Research Award to Evan Proulx
2012              CIHR Undergraduate Studentship to Dung Hoang Nguyen
2012              MICH Research Day Poster Prize to Marie-Krystel Gauthier
2011              MICH Research Day Poster Prize to Marie-Krystel Gauthier

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