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Center for Peripheral Neuopathy The University of Chicago
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About Us - About the Center

Brian Popko, PhD

Brian Popko, PhD, is the Jack Miller Professor in Neurological Sciences and Director of the Center for Peripheral Neuropathy. Dr. Popko joined the University of Chicago on January 1, 2002, after more than 13 years on the faculty in the Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Popko obtained his PhD from the University of Miami School of Medicine, where he studied retroviruses that cause mammary cancer in mice. He received postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology under the direction of Dr. Leroy Hood, a leading molecular geneticist. At Caltech, he participated in a study that was the first to cure a neurological mutation in mice using molecular techniques.

With a long-standing interest in disorders of the nervous system, Dr. Popko's work has centered on glial cells, commonly referred to as the support cells of the nervous system. A multitude of neurological disorders are caused by abnormalities in the interactions between neurons and glial cells. Dr. Popko takes a molecular genetic approach in his effort to better understand these disorders. In particular, he uses techniques that allow for the manipulation of the mouse genome to gain insight into the role that genetics plays in various neuropathies.

Dr. Popko also has a keen interest in the role that the immune response plays in the etiology and pathogenesis of neurological disorders. His interests are centered on the cytokines of the immune system, which are likely important players, both as deleterious and beneficial agents, in peripheral neuropathies.

Dr. Popko is one of four primary investigators funded by the Myelin Repair Foundation, a private, non-profit organization devoted to developing clinical treatments for effecting myelin repair. He is also a member of the Faculty of 1000, a web-based resource that directs biologists to the most important advances in their fields. Additionally, he is the editor of the book "Mouse Models in the Study of Genetic Neurological Disorders." He is the recipient of a Neuroscience Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan organization, as well as the Jordi Folch-Pi Award from the American Society for Neurochemistry.


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