Nicholas Seeds, Ph.D.

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

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.