Welcome to the Dharap Laboratory
for Stroke and Vascular Dementia Research
Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of disability and death in the United States. To date, there are no FDA-approved therapeutic interventions available. Our goal is to improve our understanding of the molecular processes driving the cellular and systemic changes that result in brain damage and neurological dysfunction so that we may harness this knowledge to develop new treatments against stroke. Our research is focused on transcriptomics, epigenetics, and gene regulation. We study how the interplay between noncoding RNAs, regulatory proteins, and DNA modulates the gene regulatory networks that underlie the development of the post-stroke pathophysiology. Because RNAs are amenable to therapeutic manipulations, we hope to discover new druggable targets that can be developed for clinical applications against stroke.
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Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion is associated with vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aging- associated hypoperfusion is widely recognized in the elderly population, however, the pathophysiological link between hypoperfusion and vascular dementia remains poorly understood. Filling this gap in knowledge is of high significance in our quest to prevent the development and progression of AD and AD-related dementias (ADRD). Leveraging our expertise in RNA biology, epigenetics, and cerebrovascular injury, our efforts are focused on unraveling the relationships between genome organization, gene regulation, gene expression, and cellular outcomes in the subcortical regions of the brain that are the most significantly affected and implicated in the development of vascular dementia. These findings will be connected to cognitive and behavioral deficits, and novel molecular targets will be identified for therapeutic manipulation to minimize or reverse the adverse behavioral outcomes.
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"Time is Brain"
Every minute following an ischemic stroke is precious. The sooner we can intervene, the higher the possibility of minimizing cell death and brain damage. The mission of the Dharap Laboratory is to unravel the immediate-early molecular and pathophysiological changes that shape the secondary outcomes in the post-stroke brain, with the overarching goal of leveraging this knowledge to develop novel treatments against post-stroke brain injury.