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Research Highlight

A major focus of ongoing research at UC Irvine is to develop new therapeutic strategies designed to limit ongoing demyelination while repairing damaged nerve tissue.

Dr. Craig WalsDirector
Professor, Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences
UCI Faculty Profile
PubMed Link

Dr. Walsh obtained his Ph.D. in Immunology at the UCLA School of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, followed by postdoctoral work at UCSD in La Jolla, CA in the Division of Molecular Biology. This is where Dr. Walsh first became interested in autoimmune diseases and embarked upon his career of studying immune self-tolerance mechanisms that go awry in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Dr. Walsh joined the faculty in the School of Biological Science in 2001 and is now a Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and a Co-Director of the UCI Institute for Immunology.

His research focuses on two key aspects related to the pathogenesis of MS: 1) how to control T cell responses in autoimmunity and establish T cell tolerance toward myelin; and 2) how to promote myelin regeneration using stem cell transplantation. As recently discovered by our group, the most therapeutically beneficial stem cells for remyelination appear to promote immune tolerance mechanisms following their transplantation, suggesting important crosstalk between the T cells of the immune system and stem cells involved in repair of tissue damage. Dr. Walsh is also investigating the therapeutic potential of neural stem cells in promoting remyelination and restoration of motor skills.

Dr. Walsh heads a team of UCI researchers investigating the effects of neural stem cells in treating demyelinating diseases. In addition, Dr. Walsh’s work in MS research is funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Walsh has served for three years as a grant reviewer for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and frequently contributes to grant reviews in the area of immune tolerance for the National Institutes of Health.