Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

University of Texas Medical Branch


Olivera Nesic, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Research Field: Neuroscience

Current Research Interests: Alleviating functional impairments after spinal cord trauma, Including prevention of the chronic pain development

Our approach to alleviating the complex and devastating consequences of trauma to the spinal cord is to identify multimodal therapeutic approaches. Nesic ResearchWe are investigating pharmacological interventions that can simultaneously affect many targets relevant to the functional recovery after trauma, as opposed to single target interventions. We have already identified multi-target and FDA-approved drugs, which significantly improved motor recovery or diminished neuropathic pain in a rat model of spinal cord injury. We are currently investigating molecular mechanisms underlying those beneficial effects, e.g. specifically altered neurovascular interactions, ion/water homeostasis, and changes in the function of water channels (aquaporins).

The ultimate long-term goal of my research group is to identify interventions that can be translated into clinically effective therapeutic treatments for spinal cord injury patients. 

Recent Publications:
Durham-Lee, J.C., Wu, Y., Mokkapati, V.U.L., Paulucci-Holthauzen, A. A, and Nesic, O. Induction of Angiopoietin-2 after Spinal Cord Injury. Neuroscience. 2012 Jan 27;202: 454-64.

Durham-Lee, J.; Venkata Usha Mokkapati; Kathis E. Johnson and Olivera Nesic: Amiloride improves motor recovery after spinal cord injury. J. Neurotrauma. (2011) Jul; 28(7):1319-26.PMID: 21534729

Nesic O, Sundberg LM, Herrera JJ, Mokkapati VU, Lee J, Narayana PA: Vascular endothelial growth factor and spinal cord injury pain. J. Neurotrauma; 2010 Oct; 27(10):1793-803.PMID: 20698758

Nesic O, Guest JD, Zivadinovic D, Narayana PA, Herrera JJ, Grill RJ, Mokkapati VU, Gelman BB, Lee J. Aquaporins in Spinal Cord Injury: The Janus Face of AQP4. Review. Neuroscience, 2010 Jul 28;168(4):1019-35. PMID: 2010953

Past and present research has been supported by: NIH NINDS; Mission Connect, TIRR of Houston; Craig Nielsen Foundation; Institute for Translational Science (UTMB) and John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund for Biomedical Research.