Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology
Dr. Rasband was nominated for his his groundbreaking work on the molecular organization of axons, especially the structure, function, and assembly of nodes of Ranvier and the axon initial segment. Nodes are essential for conduction of nerve impulses throughout the nervous system, and their disruption contributes to the pathophysiology of many disorders including multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathies, and other white matter diseases. Dr. Rasband has dissected the molecular mechanisms and neuron-glia interactions responsible for assembly and maintenance of these domains. Axon initial segments are the site of action potential initiation. Dr. Rasband has shown how these important excitable domains are assembled and maintained in the nervous system, and how they are disrupted following disease or injury. Dr. Rasband's recent work has shown that they are disrupted in many nervous system diseases including traumatic brain injury, stroke, and even Alzheimer's disease.
Three of Dr. Rasband's recent publications are of particular significance and form the basis for his nomination to the Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Award.
Susuki K, Raphael AR, Ogawa Y, Stankewich MC, Peles E, Talbot WS, and Rasband MN. (2011) "Schwann cell spectrins modulate peripheral myelination." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 108:8009-14.
Galiano MR, Jha S, Ho TS, Zhang C, Ogawa Y, Chang KJ, Stankewich MC, Mohler PJ, and Rasband MN. (2012) "A distal axonal cytoskeleton forms an intra-axonal boundary that controls axon initial segment assembly". Cell 149:1125-1139
Susuki K, Chang KJ, Zollinger DR, Liu Y, Ogawa Y, Eshed-Eisenbach Y, Dours-Zimmermann MT, Oses-Prieto J, Burlingame AL, Seidenbecher C, Zimmermann DR, Oohashi T, Peles E, and Rasband MN. (2013). "Three mechanisms assemble central nervous system nodes of Ranvier". Neuron, in press.