University of Kentucky College of Medicine researcher Ann Stowe describes her career path as nontraditional. After earning a bachelor's degree in fine arts, Stowe decided to pursue graduate study in biomedical research instead of art history.
Today, the associate professor in UK's Department of Neurology studies how the brain recovers from stroke. The same passion for creativity that attracted Stowe to studying the arts is what drives her in the laboratory.
I believe biomedical research was even more creative from a 'designing my own experiments' point of view. It's a creative output that I knew would hold my attention for a full career." Ann Stowe, researcher, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Stowe has made many contributions to stroke research, with her experiment design playing a big role. She came to UK from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2018 and is now a faculty member in UK's Kentucky Neuroscience Institute and Center for Advanced Translational Stroke Science.
Stowe's research focuses on the inflammation that happens in the brain after a stroke. This interest was piqued during her first journal club meeting in graduate school at the University of Kansas.
"We reviewed a clinical trial that focused on blocking inflammation after a stroke in stroke patients, and it was a profound failure," Stowe said. "From that point on, I've had the theory that brain inflammation is actually required for stroke recovery. It's not all detrimental."
Stroke occurs in the brain when blood flow to an area stops either through a blockage of the blood vessel or the blood vessel rupturing and blood leaking out. Depending on where it happens in the brain, the stroke patient can develop a disability.
Stowe's research goal is to understand how inflammation after stroke can be shaped to support rewiring in the brain and recovery of function that might be lost with injury.
"When you think about the brain and how it reorganizes after stroke, there are many areas that are involved," Stowe said. "It's the other areas of the brain that survived the stroke that actually rewire and reorganize to support recovery. Inflammation can actually affect these other areas, too." Related Stories
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