Jones Lab

The research lab of Kathryn J. Jones, PhD focuses on neural Injury and repair; gonadal steroids as neurotherapeutics; neuroimmunology; and ALS.

The overarching goal of the research being conducted in the Jones laboratory is to elucidate basic mechanisms underlying neural injury and repair in the mammalian nervous system following injury and/or disease. In vivo injury studies include both peripheral nerve injury (PNI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) animal models, immunodeficient animals, and an animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In vitro studies include stem cell-derived motoneurons, and olfactory ensheathing cells as transplant material in SCI. The long term goal is to translate basic understanding of neural injury and repair to the clinical situation.

Active Research

Two major directions of research are being conducted in this lab. The first investigates gonadal steroid hormones as neurotherapeutic agents in PNI and SCI. The second is being done in collaboration with Dr. Virginia Sanders at The Ohio State University and focuses on the lab’s discovery that CD4+ T cells can rescue motoneurons (MN) from injury-induced cell death.

Recently, work with an animal model of ALS has been initiated, the SOD1 mouse, and researchers in this IU School of Medicine lab found that the neuroprotective mechanism underlying immune-mediated rescue of MN after injury is defective in the SOD1 animal. Importantly, the defect may not be in the MN itself but rather in a dysregulated microenvironment surrounding the MN cell body and/or a peripheral immune cell defect. These results are potentially paradigm-shifting in terms of the overall understanding of the underlying pathogenesis and progression of ALS, and this research is being done with clinical colleagues in the IU School of Medicine Department of Neurology.

Research Funding

Immune Regulation of Neuronal Injury and Repair, NIH, NINDS (5 RO1 NS40433)
Constructing a growth-promoting pathway for functional regeneration after SCI, VA Merit Award (BLR&D); co-PI with Xiao-Ming Xu
Senior Research Career Scientist Award, VA Career Award

Recent Publications

Ni A, Yang T, Mesnard-Hoaglin, N.A., Gutierrez R., Stubbs, E. B., McGuire, S.O., Sanders, V.M., Jones K.J., Foecking E.M., Xin, J.P. (2016) Th17 cell response in SOD1G93A mice following motor nerve injury. (2016) Mediators Inflam., (April 18; epub ahead of print).

Jones, K.J., Lovett-Racke, A., Walker, C., and Sanders, V.M. (2015) CD4+T cells and neuroprotection: relevance to motoneuron injury and disease.  J. Neuroimmun. Pharm., in press.

Haulcomb, M.M., Batka, R.J., Meadows, R.M., Sanders, V.M., and Jones, K.J. (2015) Identification of B6SJL mSOD1G93A subgroups with different disease progression rates. J. Comp. Neurol., (May 22nd, epub ahead of print.

Olmstead, D.N., Mesnard-Hoaglin, N.A., Batka, R.J., Haulcomb, M.M., Miller, W.M., and Jones, K.J. (2015) Facial nerve axotomy in mice: a model to study motoneuron response to injury.  J. Vis. Exp., Feb 23rd: e52382.

Mesnard, N.A, Xin, J., Haulcomb, M.M., Batka, R.J., Sanders, V.M., and Jones, K.J. (2014) SOD1 (G93A) transgenic mouse CD4+ T cells mediate neuroprotection after facial nerve axotomy when removed from a suppressive peripheral peripheral microenvironment. Brain Beh. Immun., 40: 56-60.

Mesnard, NA, Haulcomb, MM, Tanzer, L., Sanders, VM, and Jones, KJ (2013) Delayed functional recovery in pre-symptomatic SOD1G93A mice following facial nerve crush axotomy, J. Neurodegen Regen, in press.

Xin, J., Mesnard, N.A., Beahrs, T., Wainwright, D.A., Serpe, C.J., Alexander, T.D., Sanders, V.M., and Jones,K.J. (2012) CD4+T cell-mediated neuroprotection is independent of T cell-derived BDNF, Brain Behav.Immun, epub March.

Mesnard, N.A., Sanders, V.M., and Jones, K.J. (2011) Differential gene expression in the axotomized facial motor nucleus of presymptomatic SOD1 mice. J Comp Neurol., 519:3488-3506.

Xin, J., Fargo, K.N., Tanzer, L., Sanders, V.M., and Jones, K.J. (2011) Immune cell-mediated neuroprotection is independent of estrogen action through estrogen receptor-alpha. Metab. Brain Dis., epub, October.

Mesnard, N.A., Alexander, T.D., Sanders, V.M., and Jones, K.J. (2010) Use of laser microdissection in    the investigation of facial motoneuron and neuropil molecular phenotypes after peripheral axotomy. Exp.Neurol., 225: 94-103.

Xin, J., Sanders, V.M. and Jones, K.J. (2010) Il-10 within the CNS is necessary for CD4+T cells tomediate neuroprotection, Brain, Beh. Immunity, 25:820-829.

Faculty Research Team

Kathryn J. Jones, PhD

Kathryn J. Jones, PhD

Chair, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
Todd J. Brown, PhD

Todd J. Brown, PhD

Assistant Scientist in Anatomy & Cell Biology

Addtional Research Team Members

Other research team members include Felicia Kennedy, MA (Research Analyst/Lab Coordinator), Chandler Walker, PhD (Post-doctoral Fellow), Abhirami Kannan Iyer, PhD (Post-doctoral Fellow), Deborah (Olmstead) Setter (MD/PhD student), Elizabeth Runge (MD/PhD student).