Beth Costine-Bartell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Harvard Medical School
Neurosurgery, Mass General Research Institute
|PhD West Virginia University 2004|
|Postdoctoral Fellow Dartmouth Medical School 2008|
My primary research focus is the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the brain’s ability to self-repair after TBI in children. There is currently no successful therapeutic for any type of TBI in children.I seek to understand the pathophysiology of TBI in children. I utilize my training in basic neuroscience to partner with my physician colleagues (specializing in pediatric neurosurgery, forensic pediatric neuropathology, pediatric neurology, and the MGH Child Protection Team) to perform lab-based research with high biofidelity to infants and children, as well as performing clinical research. My long-term goal is to create age- and injury-specific treatments for TBI, contribute to better diagnosis of abusive head trauma, and improve scientific clarity in the medicolegal system surrounding abusive head trauma.
I started my career with a NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship and an NIH Small Grants Program Grant (R03) that I wrote with my postdoctoral mentor investigating the effect of anabolic androgenic steroids on GABAergic signaling in the neural substrates of anxiety and on the behavioral expression of anxiety. From there, I joined Dr. Ann-Christine Duhaime’s traumatic brain injury lab where I gained experience in large animal models of traumatic brain injury determining the effect of age on lesion size, validating serum markers, and investigating the age-dependent repair responses and neurogenesis resulting in several manuscripts that I authored. I have had the unique opportunity to train in neurosurgery, anesthesia, and critical care in piglets by a world-class neurosurgeon and a pediatric anesthesiologist. In 2016, I was awarded an NIH Mentored Research Scientist Award (K01) where I have successfully developed the first model of unilateral hemispheric hypodensity through extensive trial and error. This is a multi-factorial, severe TBI model. I subsequently identified age-dependent differences in the damage pattern and severity illuminating potential therapeutic targets. In "toddlers", the damage is unilateral encompassing multiple vascular territories. In 2020, my NIH Research Project Grant Program (R01) was intiated and we have begun to specifically investigate if seizures drive the spreading of tissue damage through the hemisphere.
With collaborator, Dr. Kevin Staley, I have developed a large animal model of post-traumatic epilepsy with the aim to investigate the role of matrix metalloproteinases on neuronal chloride concentrations, which may play a role on epileptogenesis. I am investigating theranostic technology for treatment of traumatic brain injury with Dr. Samir Mitragotri.