Skip to main content
Sign In

Kimberly Bjugstad, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Departmental Associations:

Department of Pediatrics


Ph.D., University of South Florida, 1998

Current Laboratory Members:

  • Shannon Cornelius - Professional Research Assistant
  • Angela Rachubinski- Graduate Student
  • Drew Kern- Medical Research Fellow
  • Research Interests:

      • Development of synthetic degradable polymers as therapeutic scaffolds for neural circuit repair
        • Using a rodent parkinsonian model, polymers are being used to reconstruct the nigrostriatal pathway
      • Exploring the therapeutic value of neural progenitor cells (NPC) in a model of Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's disease
        • Cognitive and neuroanatomical evaluations of NPC in the Ts65Dn mouse

      Laboratory Techniques:

      • Primary neuronal and NPC culturing
      • Stereotaxic neurosurgery
      • Cognitive and motor behavior testing
      • Immunohistochemistry
      • Microscopy/stereology

      Lay Summary of Research Objectives:

      Our lab is interested in two areas of neurodegeneration: Parkinson's disease (PD) and Downs Syndrome (DS). Our PD projects are focused on rebuilding the nigrostriatal pathway using biodegradable polymers to link donor cells implanted into the substantia nigra to the striatum. The DS projects explore the therapeutic value of neural progenitor cells, which migrate and differentiate, to diminish the developmental delays seen in childhood and postpone the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease seen in most DS cases.

    Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

      • Freed CR, Leehey MA, Zawada M, Bjugstad K, Thompson L, Breeze RE. Do patients with Parkinson's disease benefit from embryonic dopamine cell transplantation? J Neurology 250s3 (2003) III 44-6.
      • McRae C, Cherin E, Yamazaki TG, Diem G, Vo AH, Russell D, Ellgring JH, Fahn S, Greene P, Dillon S, Winfield H, Bjugstad KB, Freed CR., Effects of Perceived Treatment on Quality of Life and Medical Outcomes in a Double-blind Placebo Surgery Trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry 61 (2004) 412-420.
      • Bjugstad KB, Flitter WD, Arendash GW. Intracerebroventricular Infusions of Gp120 Inhibit Weight Gain and Induce Atrophy in the Hippocampus and Neostriatum without Affecting Cognition. J NeuroAIDS, 2 (2004) 15-32.
      • Sondhi D, Peterson DA, Giannaris EL, Sanders CT, Mendez BS, De B, Rostkowski AB, Blanchard B, Bjugstad K, Sladek JR, Redmond DE, Leopold PL, Kaminsky SM, Hackett NR, Crystal RG. AAV2-mediated CLN2 gene transfer to rodent and non-human primate brain results in long-term TPP-I expression compatible with therapy for LINCL. Gene Therapy 12 (2005) 1618-32.
      • Bjugstad KB, Redmond Jr. DE, Teng YD, Elsworth JD, Roth RH, Blanchard BC, Snyder EY, Sladek Jr. JR. Neural stem cells implanted into MPTP-treated monkeys increase the size of endogenous dopamine neurons found in the striatum: A return to control measures. Cell Transplantation, 14 (2005) 183-192.
      • Bjugstad KB, Crnic LS, Goodman SI, Freed CR. Infant mice with Glutaric Acidemia Type 1 have increased vulnerability to 3-nitropropionic acid toxicity. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease, 29 (2006) 612-619.
      • Redmond DE, Bjugstad KB, Ourednik V, Teng YD, Ourednik J, Wakeman D, Parsons XH, Gonzalez R, Daadi MM, Blanchard BC, Kim SU, Gu Z, Lipton SA, Markakis E, Roth RH, Elsworth JD, Sidman RL, Sladek JR, Snyder EY. Behavioral improvement in a primate Parkinson's model is associated with multiple homeostatic effects of human neural stem cells. PNAS (2007) 104: 12175-80.