Nils Henninger MD
|Institution||University of Massachusetts Medical School|
|Address||University of Massachusetts Medical School|
55 Lake Ave North
Worcester MA 01605
|Institution||UMMS - School of Medicine|
Dr. Henninger received his M.D. degree from the University of Mainz, Germany. Following residency training in Neurology at the University of Heidelberg, Germanyand University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA he completed a fellowshipin Cerebrovascular Diseases at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School,Boston, MA before joining the University of Massachusetts Medical School in2012.
As a clinician and researcher, Dr. Henninger focuses on innovation in thefields of Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury at the University of MassachusettsMedical School.
Dr. Henninger’s main clinical interest is focused on investigating cerebralsmall vessel disease (SVD) and its impact on outcome following ischemic stroke.SVD is very common among patients older than 50 years particularly if they havevascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Patientsevaluated for stroke often share these risk factors and, not surprising,frequently have evidence of SVD on brain imaging. Results from Dr. Henninger’sresearch have highlighted that the severity of SVD is stronglyassociated with stroke expansion after arterial occlusion. Theseresults help explain why patients with preexisting severe SVD also have moresevere strokes, less response to treatment, and overall worse outcomes. Ongoingresearch aims at identifying those SVD patients that are at particular highrisk for complications related to their stroke-therapy to better understand howthese can be avoided.
To facilitate translationalstroke research, Dr. Henninger’s laboratory major lines of investigation include: (1) modelingSVD and acute ischemic stroke in rodents; (2) evaluating neuroprotectivestrategies in animal models of cerebral occlusive disease; (3) serialassessment of lesion expansion and functional-cognitive recovery followingbrain ischemia using state of the art small animal MRI; (4) identifyingmolecular pathways related to the pathology of SVD.
His laboratory’s second major interest relates totraumatic (concussion) brain injury (TBI). Seminal work from his group providedinsight into the differential recovery of behavioral status and brain functionafter mild TBI in the rat. Similar to stroke, TBI is a leadingcauses of adult disability and death with more than 5 millionAmericans suffering from long-term disability related to TBIand annualcosts in excess of 60 billion dollars in the US. Axonal injury is an importantpathological hallmark of TBI and is a critical determinant of functionalimpairment and recovery. The vast majority of preclinical studies have focusedon neuronal rather than axonal protection, yet all promising neuroprotectivecompounds have failed clinically. Hence, there is a clear need to characterizethe pathophysiology of axonal injury and its role in cerebral dysfunctionfollowing TBI. Using rodent models of mild TBI, Dr. Henninger’s group ispresently investigating molecular pathways driving axon auto-destruction incollaboration with Dr. Freeman, Department of Neurobiology. This study willprovide novel insight into the contribution of programmed axonal degenerationafter acute TBI holding great promise to aid the development of novel approachesto brain protection.
We accept residents and fellows year round to work on mentored clinicalresearch projects. Lab rotations are available on a case-by-case basis tohighly motivated individuals.
Those interested in providing philanthropicsupport for a specific area of interest, especially concussion studies, shouldcontact Dr. Henninger at Nils.Henninger[at]umassmed.edu.
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