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Dr. Stephen G. Waxman, MD, PhD, Bridget Marie Flaherty Professor of Neurology and Professor of Neurobiology and of Pharmacology and Director, Center for Neuroscience and Regeneration Research, Yale University School of Medicine, presented a Grand Rounds lecture at the Tisch MS Research Center of New York on May 15, 2013. Instrumental in developing the field of sodium channel molecular biology and neurobiology, Dr. Waxman’s research has defined the ion channel architecture of myelinated axons, and demonstrated its importance for conduction in normal axons and for conduction failure after demyelination (Science, 1985). He demonstrated increased expression of sodium channels in demyelinated axons (Science, 1982), identified the sodium channel isoforms responsible for this remarkable neuronal plasticity which supports remission in multiple sclerosis (PNAS, 2004), and delineated the roles of sodium channels in axonal degeneration (PNAS, 1993, 2004).
Entitled, "From Squid to Clinic: Sodium Channels and Axonal Disease," Dr. Waxman's presentation addressed a wide array of features of sodium channel neurobiology across multiple neurological diseases and disorders in considerable depth. Of keenest interest to Tisch MS researchers was Dr. Waxman's discussion of the role of sodium channel upregulation in axon demyelination. In addition, Dr. Waxman demonstrated the potential for sodium channel blockage as a therapeutic target in the treatment of pain, neurodegenerative disease, and, perhaps, multiple sclerosis.