ASU neuroscientist gains support for stroke rehab research


April 29, 2014

His promising work on ways to help the brain heal has brought Arizona State University neuroscientist Jeffrey Kleim support from a leading private medical research company.

Dart NeuroScience recently agreed to provide Kleim $200,000 each year for an indefinite period to contribute to the company’s endeavors to develop pharmacological therapies to maintain human brain health. Kleim stroke research Download Full Image

Kleim is an associate professor and chair of the undergraduate biomedical engineering program in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

His research focuses on neural plasticity, also called brain plasticity, which explores changes in the brain’s synapses and neural pathways resulting from learning, environmental factors and injury.

In his ASU laboratory, Kleim is seeking to find more effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease, stroke and traumatic brain injury – looking at new drugs and electrical and magnetic stimulation of the brain to reverse the impacts of brain disease and injury.

About 800,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year, making it the leading cause of adult disability in the nation.

The incidence of stroke increases with age. So as more people live longer, Kleim says, the overall number of stroke patients will increase dramatically in the coming years.

He will work with Dart Neuroscience to test newly designed chemical compounds for their potential effectiveness in helping regain cognitive and physical abilities after strokes.

“When you learn something, the biology of your brain changes in some way. When you memorize a formula, study for an exam or learn new information, the circuitry in your brain is altered to store the memory. There are well-defined biological events that happen to allow learning to occur. Recovery from stroke is really a relearning process using the same biological process,” he explains.

“We actually know a lot about that process and can, therefore, try and use different techniques to amplify it, so that people who have suffered brain injury can regain what has been lost,” he says.

Kleim will design and carry out experiments to test about three to four new drugs a year developed at Dart NeuroScience. He will then compile data from the experiments and review results with the company’s neurologists and clinicians.

Dart NeuroScience’s San Diego facility is the site where most of the company’s $120 million per year in advanced brain research is performed. “We are capable of helping them because of the quality of the biomedical resources here at ASU,” Kleim says.

The funding from Dart NeuroScience will provide opportunities for graduate students, as well as students in summer research programs, to participate in Kleim’s project.

Results of his research will likely be taught in School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering course material that is part of the school’s focus on education in neurorehabilitation.

Kleim has held faculty positions at the Canadian Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge and the Department of Neuroscience and the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center at the University of Florida. He recently completed the book “Neural Plasticity: Foundation For Neurorehabilitation.”

He says he came to ASU in 2011 not only for its research facilities, but also “for the opportunity to work with engineers, because I am convinced their work is going to have the biggest impact on efforts to solve neurological problems.”

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

480-965-8122

Walk-Only Zones help keep Tempe campus safe


April 29, 2014

Following nearly eight months of campus education about the Walk-Only Zones on ASU's Tempe campus, the university community is now expected to comply to the newly introduced Campus Mall Enforcement program, which took effect March 31.

Watch the video. Campus Mall Enforcement staff on ASU's Tempe campus Download Full Image

Established Aug. 1, 2013, the Walk-Only Zones were aimed at enhancing pedestrian safety by easing vehicle congestion in heavily traveled areas. During enforcement times (8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday), no one may ride, drive or park wheeled vehicles in these areas.

ASU students, faculty and staff who do not follow guidelines during zone enforcement times are now subject to a three-tiered enforcement process:

• First violation: A Campus Mall Enforcement staff member issues individuals who are not observing Walk-Only Zones guidelines a written warning.

• Second violation: Students must attend an ASU Police Department Bicycle Safety class. Faculty and staff must attend an ASU Driving on the Mall class.

• Third violation: Individuals will receive a referral to the dean of students, dean or vice president.

Violation notices are posted to individual ASU transportation accounts. Visit parking.asu.edu and navigate to MyParking Online Services. ASU Parking and Transit Services do not oversee Zones enforcement.

It is important to note that the zones are not intended to limit or redirect use of mobility devices by individuals with disabilities.

Tempe campus infrastructure created to support Walk-Only Zones includes bicycle racks in a variety of types and locations, as well as: card-access storage facility, bicycle valet service, daytime-only golf cart parking areas and locked skateboard racks.

Additional details about zone enforcement, including the ASU Transportation Policy and Bicycle Safety class schedules, can be found at: walk.asu.edu/enforcement.html.

Submit Walk-Only Zones questions or comments via the feedback form on walk.asu.edu under the “Contact” tab.

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group

480-965-6695