Walter L. Copeland Laboratory for Neurological Research
The Walter L. Copeland Laboratory serves as a central facility for research and development within the Department of Neurological Surgery. Located on the ninth floor of Scaife Hall, the laboratory was dedicated on November 29, 2001 by L. Dade Lunsford MD. The laboratory is under the direction of C. Edward Dixon, PhD, and houses several research disciplines and core facilities which provide resources and services for a wide range of neurosurgery faculty, residents, visiting fellows, and students. Core services in the areas of biochemistry, histology, and immunohistochemistry are offered in this facility. Brain tumor, brain trauma, and neuroanatomical research are the primary initiatives being conducted in the laboratory. A significant amount of this work is funded by The Walter L. Copeland Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, a fund that has provided resources for research at the University of Pittsburgh since 1961.
Brain tumor research conducted in the Copeland Laboratory range from the molecular assessment of tumor properties to the development of in vivo tumor models which undergo various therapeutic regimes. These therapies include the use of immunologic agents, neural stem cells, or radiation. Some studies utilize dendritic cells to enhance the activity of therapeutic immunity while others involve the use of neural stem cells to enhance tumor killing by genetically engineering transplanted cells for the delivery of therapeutic agents. Radiation therapy research aims to limit or prevent damage to normal brain while enhancing the affects of radiation on neoplastic tissue. In addition to therapeutic advances, molecular studies targeted at unraveling gene expression changes in angiogenesis are also under way.
Several facets of The Brain Trauma Research Center (BTRC), directed by Dr. Dixon are housed within the Copeland Laboratory. The BTRC is dedicated to improving outcome following severe head injury. In vivo models of brain trauma have been established and are targeting therapies that are aimed at outcome improvement through drug therapy and by understanding the mechanisms of secondary injury.
The laboratory for Clinical Neurotrauma Research Team is also located in the Copeland Laboratory. Led by David O. Okonkwo, MD, PhD, the team conducts innovative clinical research on brain monitoring methods and biomarkers as well as the evaluation of neurotherapeutics for traumatic brain injury.
Neuroanatomical research is also conducted in the Copeland Laboratory. Residents and visiting fellows train in neuroanatomy and the development of minimally invasive endoNeurosurgical approaches to the brain. New routes to various brain locations are developed using in vitro models. New MRI techniques for presurgical planning are being developed and the effects of endoscopic endoport surgery on white matter tracts are also being investigated.
Wendy Fellows-Mayle, PhD, is coordinator of the Copeland Laboratory.