Our lab is interested in the regulation of normal and abnormal nervous system development, and in determining how understanding these mechanisms may be exploited to stimulate repair when cells of the nervous system become injured or succumb to disease. Many different types of neurons and glia co-exist throughout the brain, however, and their genesis, at different times in different brain regions, creates a confusing milieu in which to study events that occur early in embryogenesis. To overcome this, most of our early discovery research has historically utilized a simple, fascinating and uniquely talented part of the nervous system - the olfactory system.
The olfactory neuroepithelium (OE) is a primitive parts of the nervous system, that the only recognized projection neurons capable of successfully replacing themselves and re-targeting their axons from the peripheral to central nervous system in a mature animal. In the last 10 years, our research in the olfactory system has revealed novel subtypes of stem cells and progenitors, novel mechanisms used by transplanted olfactory glia to mediate spinal cord repair, and different ways we may be able to use epigenetic regulation mechanisms to prevent neuronal death in the developing and injured nervous system. All the research we currently perform looks beyond the olfactory system into the brain and is aimed at understanding (1) Neural stem cell regulation; (2) Glia-based mechanisms of stimulating regeneration and brain repair and (3) How the DNA of cells within our brain becomes epigenetically altered as cells become specialized when we stimulate our brain (epigenetic regulation of brain development and function).
The Roskams Lab is essentially split into research groups ( the "neural stem cell bay" the "glia and regeneration bay" and the "epigenetics bay") focussed on each of the following areas, whose interests become more intertwined the deeper we probe into some of the intrinsic mechanisms common to each. Although we no longer have an active research program in neuronal death mechanisms, neuronal protection is a key aim in many aspects of research in the three current lab groups.
Barnett SC and Roskams AJ Olfactory Ensheathing Cells Isolation and Culture from the Neonatal Olfactory Bulb, Methods Mol Biol. 2008;438:85-94
Bretzner F, Liu J, Currie E, Roskams AJ, and Tetzlaff W Undesired effects of a combinatorial treatment for spinal cord injury: Transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells with BDNF Infusion to the Red Nucleus Eur. J Neurosci. 2008 Nov;28(9):1795-807
MacDonald J and Roskams AJ. Histone Deacetylases 1 and 2 Are Expressed at Distinct Stages in Neural Glial Development, Developmental Dynamics 2008 Aug 237(8):2256-67.
Murdoch, B. & Roskams, AJ. A Novel Embryonic Nestin-Expressing Radial Glia-Like Progenitor Gives Rise To Zonally Restricted Olfactory and Vomeronasal Neurons. J Neurosci 2008 Apr 16:28(16):4271-82
Vincent AJ, Lau P and Roskams AJ. SPARC is Expressed at by Macroglia and Microglia in the Developing and Mature Nervous System, Devel. Dynamics (2008) May 237 (5):1449-62
Richter M, Westendorf K and Roskams AJ. Culturing Olfactory Ensheathing Cells from the Mouse Olfactory Epithelium. Methods Mol. Biology, 2008:438:85-94
Fung F, Cooke J and Roskams AJ. NMDA Ablation of ORN Targets inhibits RMS radial Migration but Stimulates Synaptic and Cellular Remodeling of the Olfactory Bulb. J. Comp. Neurol (re-submitted Jan 2008).
Murdoch B, Roskams AJ. Olfactory epithelium progenitors: insights from transgenic mice and in vitro biology. J Mol Histol. 2007 Dec;38(6):581-99. Epub 2007 Sep 13.
Au E, Richter MW, Vincent A, Tetzlaff W, Aebersold R, Sage EH, and Roskams AJ, SPARC is Secreted by Olfactory Ensheathing Cells to Promote Neurite Outgrowth and Enhances Spinal Cord Repair, J Neurosci 27, 7208-7221 (2007).
Paul Lu, Hong Yang, Maya Culbertson, Lori Graham, A.Jane Roskams and Mark H. Tuszynski. Olfactory Ensheathing Cells Do Not Exhibit Unique Migratory or Axonal Growth-Promoting Properties After Spinal Cord Injury. J. Neuroscience 2006 Oct 25;26(43):11120-30.
Carson C, Murdoch B, Lazzari N and Roskams AJ: Notch 2 and Notch 1/3 segregate to neuronal and glial lineages of the developing olfactory epithelium. Dev Dyn. 2006 Jun;235(6):1678-88
Oswald Steward, Kelli Sharp, Edmund Au , Gowri Selvan, Anthony Hadden, Maura Hofstadter, Jane Roskams. Re-assessment of the Consequences of Delayed Transplantation of Olfactory Ensheathing Cells Following Complete Spinal Cord Transection In Rats. Exp Neurol. 2006 Apr;198(2):483-99. Epub 2006 Feb 21
MacDonald JL, Gin, CSY and Roskams AJ. Stage-Specific Induction of DNA Methyltransferases in Olfactory Receptor Neuron Development. Developmental Biology, Dec 15 2005 Vol 288 pp 461-473
Director of the UBC Mentor Centre.