Washington University in Saint Louis

  • STRAHLE LAB vision

    Our goal is to understand germinal matrix hemorrhage-intraventricular hemorrhage (GMH-IVH)-induced brain injury and hydrocephalus in order to develop targeted therapeutics to prevent hydrocephalus, mitigate brain injury, and improve outcomes in infants with GMH-IVH. We study the role of blood and blood breakdown products in the pathogenesis of hydrocephalus and brain injury and examine the role of cilia on the ventricular surface in this pathogenesis. We also focus on the changes in CSF circulation and fluid dynamics after hemorrhage . Our multidisciplinary approach spans molecular, cellular, genetic, imaging, and behavioral techniques to answer basic science and clinical questions. We are integrated into the Hope Center for neurologic disorders at Washington University in Saint Louis and are located in BJC-Institute of Health, which provides for a strong interdisciplinary research program.


    Intraventricular Hemorrhage Clearance in Human Neonatal Cerebrospinal Fluid: Associations With Hydrocephalus


    2020 Jun;51(6):1712-1719​.


    Iron has been implicated in ventriculomegaly, hippocampal injury, and poor outcomes following IVH. The purpose of this paper to was to see whether levels of cerebrospinal fluid blood breakdown products and endogenous iron clearance proteins in neonates with IVH differ from those of neonates with IVH who subsequently develop posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus. Neonates with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus had significantly higher levels of hemoglobin than those with high-grade IVH. Levels of blood breakdown products, hemoglobin, ferritin, and bilirubin correlated with ventricular size. There was no elevation of several iron-scavenging proteins in cerebrospinal fluid in neonates with posthemorrhagic hydrocepehalus, indicative of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus as a disease state occurring when endogenous iron clearance mechanisms are overwhelmed.


    Access full-length article here:


    Impaired hippocampal development and outcomes in very preterm infants with perinatal brain injury​


    Neuroimage Clin. 2019; 22: 101787.


    Preterm infants are at high risk for brain injury during the perinatal period. Intraventricular hemorrhage and periventricular leukomalacia, the two most common patterns of brain injury in prematurely-born children, are associated with poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. The hippocampus is known to be critical for learning and memory; however, it remains unknown how these forms of brain injury affect hippocampal growth and how the resulting alterations in hippocampal development relate to childhood outcomes. To investigate these relationships, hippocampal segmentations were performed on term equivalent MRI scans from 55 full-term infants, 85 very preterm infants (born ≤32 weeks gestation) with no to mild brain injury and 73 very preterm infants with brain injury (e.g., grade III/IV intraventricular hemorrhage, post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus, cystic periventricular leukomalacia). Consistent with our preclinical findings, these findings demonstrate that perinatal brain injury is associated with hippocampal size in preterm infants, with smaller volumes related to domain-specific neurodevelopmental impairments in this high-risk clinical population.


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    Blood Exposure Causes Ventricular Zone Disruption and Glial Activation In Vitro​


    J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2018 Sep 1;77(9):803-813


    We reported that application of syngeneic blood to cultured ventricular zone (VZ) cells from newborn (P0-P4) mice resulted in significant decrease in N-cadherin-dependent adherenjunctions, ciliated ependymal cells and increase in glial fibrillary acidic protein. These observations suggest that, in vitro, blood triggers VZ cell loss and glial activation in a pattern that mirrors the cytopathology of human IVH and supports the relevance of this in vitro model to define injury mechanisms.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30032242

    Predictors of mortality for preterm infants with intraventricular hemorrhage: a population-based study​


    Childs Nerv Syst. 2018 Jul 9


    The goal of this longitudinal, population-level study was to examine factors affecting mortality in preterm infants with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). Patients were 36 weeks estimated gestational age (EGA) or less with a diagnosis of IVH. Potential predictors for mortality were investigated with multivariable survival analysis. Results are shown above. This is the first database for population-based investigations of long-term neurosurgical outcomes in preterm infants with IVH.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29987373

    De Novo Mutation in Genes Regulating Neural Stem Cell Fate in Human Congenital Hydrocephalus​


    Neuron. 2018 Jul 25;99(2):302-314


    CH pathogenesis is poorly understood. Exome sequencing of 125 CH trios and 52 additional probands identified three genes with significant burden of rare damaging de novo or transmitted mutations: TRIM71 (p = 2.15 × 10−7), SMARCC1 (p = 8.15 × 10−10), and PTCH1 (p = 1.06 × 10−6). Additionally, two denovoduplicationswere identified at the SHH locus, encoding the PTCH1 ligand (p = 1.2 × 10−4). Together, these probands account for ∼10% of studied cases. Strikingly, all four genes are required for neural tube development and regulate ventricular zone neural stem cell fate.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29983323

    Time-to-event analysis of surgically treated posthemorrhagichydrocephalus in preterm infants: a single-institution retrospective study


    Childs Nerv Syst. 2017 Nov;33(11):1917-1926


    Grades III-IV IVH did not differ in age at IVH diagnosis, ventriculomegaly, temporizing neurosurgical procedure (TNP) or permanent intervention. Ventricular reservoirs and ventriculosubgalealshunts were used in 68.3% and 28.8%, respectively. 76.9% of the patients ultimately received a VPS. Although most infants who develop IVH and ventriculomegaly will do so within a few days of birth, at-risk infants should be observed for at least four weeks with serial head ultrasounds to monitor for PHH requiring surgery.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28884229

    Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of infantile congenital hydrocephalus


    PLoS One. 2017 Feb 17;12(2):e0172353


    The objective of this study was to examine the CSF of children with congenital hydrocephalus (CHC) to gain insight into the pathophysiology of hydrocephalus and identify candidate biomarkers of CHC with potential diagnostic and therapeutic value.CSF levels of amyloid precursor protein and derivatives (solubleAPPα, APPβ), Aβ42, tau, phosphorylated tau, cell adhesion markers L1CAM, and NCAM-1 but not aquaporin 4 or total protein were increased in untreated CHC.Predictive ability for CHC was strongest for sAPPα, followedby normalized sAPP, tau, APP, and L1CAM.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28212403

    Role of hemoglobin and iron in hydrocephalus after neonatal intraventricular hemorrhage


    Neurosurgery. 2014 Dec;75(6):696-705


    We reported that intraventricular injections of iron or Hemoglobin(Hb) in P7 neonatal rats resulted in ventriculomegaly, neuronal injury and death. Injection with the iron-deficient immediate heme precursor protoporphyrin IX did not result in ventricular enlargement. Furthermore, treatment with an iron-chelator, deferoxamine, post-Hb injection resulted in significant reduction in Hb-induced hippocampal damage and neuronal injury. These results implicate iron and Hb as key neuropathological substrates of GMH-IVH.This has implications for pathogenesis and treatment of hydrocephalus.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25121790

    Hemoglobin-induced neuronal degeneration in the hippocampus after neonatal intraventricular hemorrhage


    Brain Res. 2016 Mar 15;1635:86-94


    We evaluated the role of hemoglobin (Hb) in cell death after intraventricular injection in neonatal rats. Hb was injected into the right lateral ventricle of P7 rats. The CA-1 region of the hippocampus was analyzed via immunohistochemistry, hematoxylin and eosin, Fluoro-Jade C staining, Western blots, and double-labeling stains. Compared to controls, intraventricular injection of Hbdecreased hippocampal volume (27% decrease; p<0.05), induced neuronal loss (31% loss; p<0.01), and increased neuronal degeneration (2.7 fold increase; p<0.01), which were all significantly reduced with the iron chelator, deferoxamine.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26772987

    Role of red blood cell lysis and iron in hydrocephalus after intraventricular hemorrhage


    J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2014 Jun;34(6):1070-5


    In this study investigated the role of red blood cell (RBC) lysis and iron in hydrocephalus after IVH. We found that intraventricular injection of lysed RBCs, but not packed RBCs, resulted in ventricular enlargement and marked increases in brain hemeoxygenase-1 and ferritin at 24 hours. Intraventricular injection of iron also resulted in ventricular enlargement and ventricular wall damage 24 hours later. Coinjection of deferoxamine reduced lysed RBC-induced ventricular enlargement. These results suggest that iron, a degradation product of hemoglobin, has an important role in hydrocephalus development after IVH.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24667910

    Subarachnoid hemorrhage- induced hydrocephalus in rats


    Stroke. 2013 Feb;44(2):547-50.


    Hydrocephalus is an important complication of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). SAH was induced by endovascular perforation in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Ventricular volume measurements showed a significant increase in surviving SAH rats when compared to sham controls. Ventricular volume correlated with SAH severity as demonstrated by histology, immunohistochemistry, Perls’ staining and Western blot analysis. Periventricular iron deposition was observed and HO-1 and Iba-1 expression were markedly increased in hydrocephalus rats.


    Access full-length article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23212164


    We use a diverse approach to study post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus spanning both the lab and clinic. We utilize neonatal animal models of post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus, primary cell culture, human CSF analysis, protein and RNA quantification (ELISA, Western blot, rt-PCR), cilia structure and function assays, CSF outflow quantification and behavior studies.

    T2-Weighted MRI

    To evaluate ventricle size and brain injury, we use in vivo MRI to quantify ventricular volumetric measurements and assess brain injury.

    Cilia Beat Frequency Measurements

    As cilia function is implicated in hydrocephalus, we evaluate cilia structure and function in cell culture and after intraventricular hemorrhage in our neonatal rodent model.

  • tHE PI - Dr. Jennifer M. Strahle

    Dr. Strahle received her undergraduate degree from Bates College where she double majored in neuroscience and biochemistry. She received her MD from the University of Minnesota and completed her neurosurgical residency at the University of Michigan. She came to Washington University in Saint Louis for pediatric neurosurgery fellowship training in 2015. Dr. Strahle is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery and Pediatrics and the Director of Pediatric Neuro Spine Program. In addition to hydrocephalus, her clinical interests are in pediatric vascular disease including moyamoya, pediatric spine tumors, spinal deformity, brain tumors, craniocervical junction disorders, spina bifida, Chiari malformations, neuro-endoscopy, pediatric spine trauma, syringomyelia, and CSF circulation. She conducts basic science and clinical research focused on advancing the field of pediatric neurosurgery through a greater understanding of disease processes, such as post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus and advancement of treatment strategies.

  • Meet OUR TEAM

    We are a diverse group of committed scientists and medical students driven to making fundamental discoveries in the lab and rapidly translating these insights to the clinic.

    Prabagaran Esakky, PhD

    Senior Scientist

    Praba got his PhD in Biochemistry with specialization in Male Reproductive Toxicology from (ICMR) University of Mumbai in 2008. He completed his postdoctoral trainings in Developmental Neurobiology at WEHI in Melbourne, Australia (2008-2009), Vascular Physiology at UTHSC, Memphis (2009-2010), followed by training in molecular reproductive toxicology in the Department of OB & GYN at Washington University in St. Louis (2010-2015). Following postdoc trainings, Praba has made significant scientific contributions as a Research Instructor in the department until 2019. His research has primarily focused on unraveling the harmful effects upon paternal exposure to environmental pollutants and germ cell toxicants such as constituents of cigarette smoke and viral pathogens like ZIKA virus on male fertility, male germ cell development, birth defects in embryos and offspring, and developmental and neurobehavioral outcomes in offspring. Praba has joined the Strahle Lab in June 2019 and is currently focusing on the role of proteins in ventricular injury and ependymal ciliary dysfunction and its impact on CSF dynamics in GMH-IVH.

    Sruthi Ramagiri, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Sruthi Ramagiri received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from BITS Pilani in May 2018. She completed her Post-doctoral training in the Department of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in June 2019. She joined the Dr. Strahle lab in July 2019. Dr. Ramagiri is currently focusing on the role of iron transport at the ependymal surface and its contribution to ciliary dysfunction in IVH-PHH.

    Dakota DeFreitas, MA

    Research Technician

    Dakota received his Masters in Neurobiology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is focusing on the role of iron transporters in iron-mediated ventricular injury and behavioral deficits after post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus.

    Diego Morales, MS

    Staff Scientist

    Dhvanii Raval

    Undergraduate Student

    Dhvanii Raval is a junior at Saint Louis University studying neuroscience on a pre-medicine track. She joined Strahle Lab in February 2020. In the lab, she is currently focused on determining CD163 expression in a rat IVH-PHH model.

    Shelei Pan

    Undergraduate Student

    Shelei is an undergraduate in Washington University’s University Scholars Program, where she plans to major in neuroscience. She joined the Strahle lab in December 2019. Shelei studies CSF outflow pathways in post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus.

  • Former Members

    Bing Xue, M.D.

    Staff Scientist

    Dr. Xue received his M.D. degree from Taishan Medical College in China in July 2002. He received his Ph.D. in Anatomy and Embryology from Ehime University School of Medicine in Japan in July 2007. Dr. Xue completed his Post-doctoral training in Physiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center from 2007 to 2008, followed by training at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine from 2008 to 2016. He joined the Strahle Lab in March 2017. Dr. Xue is currently focusing on the role of iron transporters and cilia dysfunction and effects on regional and global CSF flow after GMH-IVH.

    Sharon Abada

    Medical Student

    Prior to attending medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, Sharon Abada received her Bachelor's degree in Physiology from UCLA and her Master's in Public Health from the UTHealth School of Public Health. She joined the Strahle Lab in the summer of 2018. In the lab, she has worked on studying the role of ependymal iron transporters in post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus using a neonatal rodent model.

    Chandana Buddhala, PhD

    Senior Scientist

    Dr. Buddhala received her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from Florida Atlantic University in May 2012. She completed Post-doctoral training with Dr Paul Kotzbauer in the Department of Neurology at Washington University in Saint Louis in May 2017. She joined the Strahle Lab in July 2017. Dr. Buddhala has recently contributed to findings on Intraventricular Hemorrhage Clearance Markers in Human Neonatal CSF. She is currently focusing on CSF iron metabolism predictors of outcome in post hemorrhagic hydrocephalus, iron-mediated ventricular injury and cilia dysfunction in post hemorrhagic hydrocephalus.

    Mounica Paturu

    Medical Student

    Mounica Paturu received her Bachelor of Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she double majored in Bioengineering and International Development. She joined the the Strahle Lab in 2018. Ms. Paturu is currently involved in clinical research evaluating the relationship of ventricular size to CSF biomarkers of post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus.

    Alex Skidmore

    Medical Student

    Alex Skidmore completed his Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from Duke University. He joined the Strahle Lab in the summer of 2018. Alex focuses on studying changes in iron transporter expression in hemoglobin and iron-mediated injury in neonatal rat primary cultured ependymal cells.

    Jordan Gewirtz

    Undergraduate Student

    Jordan Gewirtz is a senior at Washington University in St. Louis studying systems engineering and computer science on a pre-medicine track. He joined the Strahle Lab in the summer of 2019. In the lab, he is working on the Park-Reeves Research Consortium focusing on Chiari, syringomyelia, and scoliosis as well as validating a modified spine MRI protocol.

  • Hello & Welcome!

    Thank you for your interest in joining the Strahle Lab. If you are a bright, enthusiastic and hard working individual who is excited to learn and contribute to hydrocephalus research, you are at the right place.


    Research Staff Scientists, Post-Doc Research Associates and Technicians:

    We are actively recruiting highly motivated Post-Doctoral Research Associates, Staff Scientists and Technicians. Please send a cover letter and CV to Dr. Strahle at strahlej@wustl.edu.


    Medical Students:

    Medical students typically enter the lab as a summer research student between the first and second year of medical school. They may continue to be involved in laboratory or clinical research and/or set aside a dedicated research year in the lab.


    Undergraduate Students:

    We request that interested students are willing to commit at least one summer (full time) or approximately 10 hours per week. If interested please send a CV/resume to Dr. Strahle at strahlej@wustl.edu.


  • NEWS

    2016 Neurosurgeon Research Career Development Program Award Recipient ​

    Click here for more info:


    2016 Hydrocephalus Association Innovator Award Recipient ​

    This award was made possible through the generous support of Team Hydro.

  • specIal thanks

    We couldn't have done it alone without continued support from our patients, families and funding sources.

  • D O N A T E

    All our research is conducted with the patient in mind. We continuously initiate new research projects across multiple areas within the realm of hydrocephalus to find a cure. If you would like to support this important effort through your donation, please feel free to contact:

    Washington University School of Medicine

    Pam Morris