Dr. Keirstead received her Ph.D. in neurophysiology from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, where she studied the role of neck muscle motoneurons and sensory afferents in the control of head movement in the laboratory of Dr. P. Ken Rose. As a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratories of Dr. M. Rasminsky and Dr. A.J. Aguayo at McGill University, Dr. Keirstead examined the capabilities of retinal neurons to regenerate axons and form functional synaptic connections with central nervous system neurons. Dr. Keirstead came to the University of Minnesota as a research associate in the Department of Physiology where she used calcium imaging techniques to study the regulation of intracellular calcium ion concentration in glial cells by neurotransmitters in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Miller. She continued these studies as an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Keirstead is an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, and the Administrative Co-director and member of the Stem Cell Institute.
Current research interests include:
The functional characterization of stem cells at various stages of differentiation and their functional integration into host tissue after transplantation.
My research involves the use of calcium imaging and electrophysiological techniques to examine the functional characteristics of stem cells in vitro as they differentiate into cells of various tissue types. This system provides a useful model for the development of functional characteristics of neurons and other cells in culture. Furthermore, our functional studies will permit us to better define the optimum degree of differentiation for the successful integration of transplanted stem cells into target tissues of host animals.
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