Nicholas Seeds, Ph.D.

Headshot photo

Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Research Professor at University of New Mexico effective August, 2011

After studying the involvement of extracellular proteases in aspects of axonal growth and cell migration in the developing nervous system for a number of years as a Jacob Javits Distinguished Investigator of NINDS/NIH, Dr. Seeds has turned his focus more recently to roles the extracellular protease plasminogen activator plays in synaptic plasticity associated with learning & memory and in neural regenerative events leading to recovery of function following spinal cord injury. He has shown that tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) activity is required for cerebellar motor learning, where it is thought to play a role in synaptic activity. Furthermore, he’s shown that tPA activity is dramatically inhibited in the Alzheimer Disease (AD) brain by elevated levels of a specific tPA-inhibitor called neuroserpin. Using mice carrying a mutant human amyloid precursor protein (APP) that develop amyloid plaques and show a spatial learning deficit, Dr. Seeds has restored normal behavior by deleting the neuroserpin gene. Current studies are directed at identifying the mechanisms that up-regulate neuroserpin in the AD brain, and developing inhibitors of neuroserpin as potential therapeutics. Following injury to the peripheral or central nervous system, plasminogen activators are induced in an attempt to re-establish neuron – neuron connections. His studies focus on the role urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) induction, following a C2 spinal cord injury; plays in promoting new and more active synaptic connections in the phrenic motor nucleus that lead to a recovery of diaphragm activity and restore breathing. Similarly, he is studying the regenerative role of tPA for axon re-growth across an injury site in the spinal cord dorsal column.  Dr. Seeds received his B.S. in biology at the University of New Mexico and his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Iowa.

Funded Research

Project Description Researchers Funding
Understanding the Up-Regulation of Neuroserpin in the Alzheimer’s Brain and Isolating a Potential Therapeutic Inhibitor of its Action: Continued

The goal of this project is to determine if there is a strong correlation between Alzheimer’s patients with high neuroserpin and high thyroid hormone levels (for both males and females).

Since our initial proposal in Spring 2010, several papers have appeared making the association between thyroid hormone levels and dementia. Thyroid hormones are associated with poorer cognition in mild cognitive impairment. (Dementia Geriatrics & Cognitive Disorders 30:205-11. Bensenor, IM et al. 2010, Subclinical hyperthyroidism and dementia. BMC Public Health 10:298.)

2010 to 2011