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Michelle Theus

Associate Professor
  • Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
  • Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Associate Professor, Health Sciences
  • Co-Director, Translational Biology Medicine and Health Graduate Program


Dr. Michelle Theus' lab is comprised of a highly collaborative team of interdisciplinary scientists focused on devising novel therapies to treat stroke and traumatic brain injury. The laboratory uses a variety of cellular, molecular and imaging tools to investigate and target Eph receptor biology following brain injury.


Eph receptors are developmental axon growth/guidance molecules, which the Theus Lab discovered play a negative role in regulating injury-induced vascular function, specifically the outward growth and remodeling of pial collateral vessels. This work was recently published in Journal of Clinical Investigations. The lab routinely evaluates these suppressive pathways using conditional gene targeted approaches in murine models of stroke and TBI. These tools are being utilized to further uncover Eph receptor influence over neuroinflammation and aberrant neurogenic responses and how this affects behavioral outcome.

Toward the Theus Lab's long-term translational goal, they have begun testing the effects of several novel Eph blocking peptides for their therapeutic potential in treating stroke and TBI. They are simultaneously developing a nanoparticle system and testing delivery methods aimed at limiting the scope of brain injury, protecting the blood brain barrier and controlling overzealous neuroinflammation. The overall goal of these mechanistic studies is to understand and target highly relevant players involved in brain injury using novel genetic systems and state-of-the art pharmacotherapy to prevent tissue damage and promote functional recovery.