The Iowa Center for Advanced Neurotoxicology at Iowa State University was established in 2007. From offices located in the College of Veterinary Medicine, ICAN supports an interdisciplinary membership with primary research efforts in neurotoxicology.
As an emerging research specialty, neurotoxicology bridges not only the fields of toxicology and neuroscience, but also touches on a variety of other scientific areas, making it a truly interdisciplinary research specialty. Because of the collaborative nature of research supported by ICAN, its members benefit from new and unique synergistic relationships for discovery not otherwise available in a single discipline environment.
ICAN has three major goals:
- Conduct fundamental research on both animal and human-related neurotoxicological problems that are of special significance to Iowa and the United States.
- Train graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the field of neurotoxicology
- Develop technologies and treatment strategies (economic development/translational approach) for diagnosis and treatment of disease associated with the nervous system.
Research conducted by ICAN focuses on:
- Environmental neurotoxicology including nanotechnologies and nanotoxicology, environmental influences on cell signaling proteins, and related aberrant activities within cells including degenerative processes. Proactive research places special emphasis on protective strategies.
- Parasite neurobiology that explores often unanticipated relationships between the genes and proteins of parasitic organisms. Such research reveals new insights into fundamental biological mechanisms of neurotoxins in controlling parasitic organisms and critical related issues such as environmental impact and pesticide resistance.
- Neurodegeneration and nerve cell damage impacting Prion proteins in both humans and animals via diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob and “Mad Cow.”
The importance of neurotoxicology continues to expand as new issues emerge relating to human, animal, and environmental health, and to their impact on both local and global economies.