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Megan Detloff

Megan Detloff, PhD

Assistant Professor


Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy

Education

  • BS - Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan (2002)
  • PhD - Neuroscience, The Ohio State University (2009)

Dr. Detloff is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine. After completing her PhD at The Ohio State University under the mentorship of D. Michele Basso in 2009, she came to the College of Medicine for a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of John Houlé.

Research Overview

Research interests: Neurorehabilitative strategies to prevent aberrant afferent plasticity and neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury.

Research Interests

Neurorehabilitative strategies to prevent aberrant afferent plasticity and neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury

Research

My research is focused on understanding the molecular underpinnings that contribute to the development of chronic, debilitating neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury (SCI). This pain can be described as the pain of everyday living. Normal activities like wearing a t-shirt or testing the temperature of bath water are perceived as painful. The aberrant plasticity and distribution of nociceptive primary afferents within the dorsal horn after SCI is thought to be a major contributor to the development of chronic pain.

Our goals in the lab are to:

  1. Define the mechanisms that cause aberrant afferent distribution within the dorsal horn after SCI.
  2. Assess the behavioral consequences using complex behavioral tools that involve decision making and cortical processing.
  3. Identify new molecular targets within primary sensory neurons that may be beneficial in the treatment of SCI-induced pain.
  4. Develop a rehabilitative exercise paradigm that abates aberrant afferent sprouting and pain behavior.

Techniques

Students currently have the opportunity to learn a wide variety of behavioral and neuroanatomical techniques in the lab:

Surgical: Stereotaxic brain and spinal cord surgery, infusions of neurotoxins, retrograde and anterograde fluorescent labeling.
Behavioral: Sensory testing, use of the BBB and FLS locomotor rating scales, gait analysis, development of rehabilitative strategies for functional recovery.
Neuroanatomical: Immunocytochemistry, tract tracing, stereologic cell counting.
Molecular: Laser capture microdissection of primary sensory and dorsal horn neurons, quantitative-PCR for transcription factors and other phenotypic markers of primary sensory neuron subtype, micro-Array analysis of microRNA, isolation of protein for Western Blot or ELISA analyses.

Active Funding

#220798 Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Fellowship
Principal Investigator
Dates of Project (Entire Period of Support): 07/01/2012-06/31/2014
Title: "Effect of exercise on pain development after SCI and afferent sprouting."
Objective: The objective of this project is to establish a possible mechanism by which exercise acts as a potent and effective treatment to alter the response of nociceptive primary afferents and reduce SCI-induced neuropathic pain.

Edward Jekkal Muscular Dystrophy Research Fellowship
Principal Investigator
Dates of Project: 07/01/2014-06/30-2016
Title: "Regulation of RunX proteins by exercise prevents afferent sprouting and the development of neuropathic pain after SCI"
Objective: The objective of this project is to establish a relationship between SCI, the development of chronic neuropathic pain and the molecular phenotype of primary sensory neurons as well as establish a role for exercise in modulating the phenotypic signature of nociceptive and non-nociceptive primary sensory neurons.

Publications

"Acute exercise prevents the development of neuropathic pain and the sprouting of non-peptidergic (GDNF- and artemin-responsive) c-fibers after spinal cord injury"
Detloff, MR, Smith, EJ, Quiros Molina D, Ganzer PD, Houlé JD
Experimental Neurology; 255C:38-48, 2014

"Chronic at- and below-level pain following unilateral cervical spinal cord contusion in rats"
Detloff, MR, Wade, Jr. RE, Houlé, JD
Journal of Neurotrauma; 30(10):884-90. PMID 23216008, 2013

"Plasticity in ascending long propriospinal and descending supraspinal pathways in chronic cervical spinal cord injured rats"
Côté, M-P, Detloff, MR*, Wade, Jr. R.E., Houlé, JD (*indicates authors contributed equally)
Front Physiol; 3:330. PMID 22934078, 2012

"Acute and chronic tactile sensory testing after spinal cord injury in rats"
Detloff MR, Fisher LC, Deibert RJ, Basso DM
Journal of Visualized Experiments; (62), e3247, DOI: 10.3791/3247. PMID 2250841, 2012

"Exercise modulates microRNAs that affect the PTEN/mTOR pathway in rats after spinal cord injury"
Liu G, Detloff MR*, Miller KN, Santi L, Houlé, JD (*indicates authors contributed equally)
Experimental Neurology. Epub Ahead of Print. PMCID: PMC3268901, 2011

"Validity of acute and chronic tactile sensory testing after spinal cord injury in rats"
Detloff MR, Clark LM, Fisher LC, Hutchinson KJ, Kloos AD, Basso DM
Experimental Neurology; 225(2): 366-76. PMID 20643128, 2010

"Remote activation of microglia and pro-inflammatory cytokines predict the onset and severity of below-level neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury in rats"
Detloff MR, Fisher LC, Longbrake EE, McGaughy V, Popovich PG, Basso DM
Experimental Neurology; 212: 337 - 347. PMID 18511041, 2008
**Evaluated by Faculty of 1000.

"Stepwise motor and all-or-none sensory recovery is associated with non-linear sparing after incremental spinal cord injury in rats"
Kloos AD, Fisher LC, Detloff MR, Hassenzahl DL, Basso DM
Experimental Neurology; 191(2): 251-265. PMID 15649480, 2005

View all of Dr. Detloff's publications in PubMed


Contact Information


Research Office

Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
2900 W. Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
Phone: 215.991.8986
Fax: 215.843.9082