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murphy
Dr. Murphy

Research Labs:
Murphy Lab


Research Overview

Sean Murphy, PhD is a Professor of Neurological Surgery. His research is directed at finding interventions to improve outcome following acute brain injury by identifying potential candidates in experimental stroke models from those drugs either already in use or in human trials for other purposes. Part of the rationale is that this should hasten candidate drugs into the clinic. He has identified drugs (G-CSF, progesterone, histone deacetylase inhibitors) that are not only protective of existing neurons but also activate endogenous repair processes (neurorestorative). He has National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Heart Association funding, and collaborates with Dr. Richard Morrison on neuroprotection research.

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Dr. Murphy, Rona Lee, Megan McClean, Heather Pemberton

Investigators /Researchers


Current Research

  1. Mechanisms underlying the neuroprotection conferred by progesterone after stroke (funded by AHA)
  2. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) - therapeutic targets for functional restoration after stroke (funded by NIH-NINDS)


Research Questions

Defining novel therapeutic means to treat acute brain injury (stroke and trauma)


Research Highlights

  1. Progesterone and allopregnanolone are neuroprotective in male mice when administered post-stroke
  2. Pan- and Class I selective HDAC inhibitors are neuroprotective in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo


Research Methods

The laboratory utilizes a wide variety of in vivo and in vitro approaches, including mouse models of stroke and trauma, behavioral assessment, imaging, immunohistochemistry, cell and molecular biology techniques.


Selected Recent Publications:

  • Baltan S., Murphy S.P., Danilov C.A., Bachleda A. and Morrison R.S. (2011) Histone deacetylase inhibitors preserve white matter structure and function during ischemia by conserving ATP and reducing excitotoxicity. J. Neurosci. 31, 3990-3999. (PMC3061553)
  • Gibson C.L., Coomber B. and Murphy S.P. (2011) Progesterone is neuroprotective following cerebral ischemia in reproductively ageing female mice. Brain 134, 2125-2133.
  • Jayadev S., Nesser N.K., Hopkins S., Myers S.J., Case A., Lee R., Seaburg L.A., Uo T., Murphy S.P., Morrison R.S. and Garden G.A. (2011) The transcription factor p53 influences microglia activation phenotype. Glia 59, 1402-1413. (PMC3143257)
  • Baltan S., Bachleda A., Morrison R.S. and Murphy S.P. (2011) Expression of histone deacetylases in cellular compartments of the mouse brain and the effects of ischemia. Transl. Stroke Res. 2, 411-423. (PMC3182145)
  • Gibson C.L., Murphy A.N. and Murphy S.P. (2012) Stroke outcome in the ketogenic state - a systematic review of the animal data. J. Neurochem. 123 (Suppl. 2), 52–57. (PMC3970216)
  • Xu Z.S., Lee R.J., Chu S.S., Yao A., Paun M.K., Murphy S.P. and Mourad P.D. (2013) Evidence of changes in brain tissue stiffness after ischemic stroke derived from ultrasound-based elastography. J. Ultrasound Med. 32, 485-494.
  • Baltan S., Morrison R.S. and Murphy S.P. (2013) Novel protective effects of histone deacetylase inhibition on stroke and white matter ischemic injury. Neurotherapeutics 10, 798-807. (PMC3805855)
  • Murphy S.P., Bulman C., Shariati B. and Hausmann, L. (2014) Submitting a manuscript for peer review –integrity, integrity, integrity. J. Neurochem. 128, 341-343. (PMC3926655)
  • Wang D.B., Uo T., Kinoshita C., Sopher B.L., Lee R.J., Murphy S.P., Kinoshita Y., Garden G.A., Wang H-G., and Morrison R.S. (2014) Bax interacting factor-1 (Bif-1) promotes survival and mitochondrial elongation in neurons. J. Neurosci. 34, 2674-2683. (PMC3921432)
  • Murphy S.P., Lee R.J., McClean M.E., Pemberton H.E., Uo T., Morrison R.S., Bastian C. and Baltan S.(2014) MS-275, a Class 1 histone deacetylase inhibitor, protects the p53-deficient mouse against CNS ischemic injury. J. Neurochem. 129, 509-515.
  • Xu Z.S., Yao A., Chu S.S., Yao A., Paun M.K., McClintic A.M., Murphy S.P. and Mourad P.D. (2014) Detection of mild traumatic brain injury in rodent models using shear wave elastography: preliminary studies. J. Ultrasound Med. In press.

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Contact Information

For more information on the Murphy Lab, contact Sean Murphy.

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Published Research Articles

View complete lists of current research publications by faculty from the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Participate in Clinical Trials

The Department of Neurological Surgery is currently seeking volunteers for clinical trials.

Follow the link to learn more about participating in these studies.

Featured Faculty:

Franck Kalume, PhD

Dr. Kalume investigates a form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome, as well as the mechanism that allows the ketogenic high-fat diet to suppress seizures.

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