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Juniata Scientist Receives NSF Grant to Study Nerve Regeneration

(Posted April 18, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Kristen Boeshore, von Liebig Fellow in biology at Juniata College, received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study successful regeneration of nerve cells and tissue within the peripheral nervous system.

Boeshore, who has worked at Juniata since 2004, has focused her research at Juniata on how nerves regenerate following an injury. Boeshore (pronounced "Bayshore") is centering her project on the peripheral nervous system. Explained simply, mammals have a central nervous system comprised of the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is made up of the network of nerves beyond the central nervous system. "If you touch something or are touched anywhere on your body, the sensation you feel is a reaction from your peripheral nervous system." Boeshore explains.

Boeshore's research centers on the peripheral nervous system because there is limited nerve regeneration when the central nervous system is damaged. Nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system can regenerate, either partially or fully.

"If we can find out what causes the peripheral nervous system to spontaneously regenerate nerve cells, then perhaps we can apply that knowledge to the central nervous system to help treat central nervous system injuries," she says.

Boeshore's grant is spread over three years and will fund several undergraduate research students this summer at Juniata and for the next two years.

Boeshore earned a bachelor's degree in psychobiology from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa. in 1992. She went on to earn a doctorate in neuroscience from the Case Western Reserve Medical School in 1998. She also worked as an undergraduate researcher at the Penn State University College of Medicine in 1992 and as a Whitaker Research Scholar at Penn State's medical school in 1991. Just before coming to Juniata, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Boeshore's research focuses on the discovery of novel or known genes that could contribute to the regeneration of neurons.

She currently has an article published in the Journal of Neurobiology and has been a co-author on articles published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Development, Physiological Behavior and other journals.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.