Faculty and Research
Dr. Horner has a long-standing passion and commitment to graduate and postgraduate training. He has proven expertise in training graduate, postdoctoral, and clinical fellows in the basic biology of neural stem cells and plasticity to whole animal systems of disease modeling and preclinical translation. Many of his former students currently hold faculty positions or remain in research positions in private or public research institutions. He strongly supports the development of innovative training structures that drive collaborative research. For example, he co-founded Route28 Summits in Neurobiology which is a one-week intensive problem-solving workshop for trainees and early stage faculty (www.route28.org). Horner spearheaded the development of the NeuralCODR program. He also founded and directs the graduate-level Neural Control of Organ Degeneration and Regeneration course that is team taught annually in support of NeuralCODR.
Horner’s research laboratory focuses on the interaction between glial and neural cells following central nervous system challenge and aging; specifically: 1) mechanisms of adult stem cell‐derived lesion remodeling/repair, and 2) the role of gliogenesis and gliosis in neural degeneration and aging.
As a professor of biochemistry & cell biology at Rice University, Dr. Farach-Carson provided scientific leadership and vision for the BioScience Research Collaborative and helped foster a climate of interdisciplinary and translational research and innovation. She became a strategic advisor for the Texas Medical Center, and rejoined the UTHealth School of Dentistry faculty as director of clinical and translational research and professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences.
Cindy Farach-Carson’s laboratory explores bioengineering and organ modeling with a focus on the innervated salivary system. She has a long-standing history of leading development efforts within the Texas Medical Center and as the co-director of the Gulf Coast Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, she will cultivate educational opportunities for NeuralCODR trainees. In 2016, Farach-Carson received the Presidential Mentoring Award from Rice University, reflecting the contributions of her many trainees throughout the years who have gone on to successful careers in academia, industry, biotech, scientific writing, medicine, dentistry, and research funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health , private research foundations, and regulatory agencies including the United States Food and Drug Administration . Through her leadership roles, Farach-Carson seeks to strengthen NeuralCODR training opportunities and to increase the number of women and underrepresented groups in training cohorts.
Neural Development and Tools
In this research area, laboratories apply molecular and systems approaches to discover how the brain is wired using genetic models, stem cells, or neural organoids and neuromodulation to dissect the molecular pathways in glia and neurons that build the nervous system.
Nervous System and Peripheral Organ Disorders
In this research area, laboratories develop and apply system-level models of nervous system and peripheral organ disorders, with a particular focus on the basis for disease or injury (e.g. musculoskeletal system, pain, neural trauma, and degenerative disease).
Neural Innervation and Organ Engineering
In this research area, laboratories share a common bio-engineering approach to create organ model systems including bone, bowel, vascular, and tissue-level system for modeling or therapeutic resources.
This faculty group brings a much needed and rare exposure to real-world diseases, clinical challenges, and human samples.