Michelle Theus of Miami, Fla., has joined the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech as an assistant professor of neuroscience in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.

Theus, a stem cell physiologist, was a postdoctoral scholar for the University of Miami’s Department of Neurosurgery prior to joining the college. There, she assisted with the Miami Project to Cure Spinal Cord Paralysis. Theus also has clinical laboratory experience at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center at the University of Texas and the Cleveland Clinic Organ Transplant Center.

“Dr. Michelle Theus brings to the veterinary college the exciting and novel regenerative medicine techniques to repair the central nervous system following traumatic brain injury,” said Dr. S. Ansar Ahmed, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “With her hiring, the college has an opportunity to expand its efforts in the emerging field of regenerative medicine.”

Recent scientific discoveries have put the spotlight on the possibility of using a patient’s own stem cells for tissue repair. Theus’s lab aims to understand how these innate stem cells contribute to adult central nervous system “self-healing” following traumatic injury, an area with limited regenerative potential. Using a gene-targeted approach, her research program seeks to identify effective, safe, and feasible drug targets that promote stem cell therapy for clinical applications in both animal and human health.

Theus began her position at the veterinary college on Dec. 25. She earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences at the Ohio University and a doctorate in neuropathology and laboratory medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina.

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