Welcome to the Geisler Laboratory

The research in our lab focuses on molecular mechanisms underlying different aspects of peripheral neuropathy with the goal to identify new therapeutic avenues that can be translated into effective treatment strategies.  We take bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench approaches to investigate chemotherapy-induced and small fiber neuropathies as models, in order to gain fundamental insights and develop broad-ranging therapies that benefit patients with many different forms of peripheral neuropathy.


Peripheral Neuropathy

You probably know somebody with peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common neurodegenerative disease, affecting 23 million people in the US alone. Depending on the nerves affected, patients suffer from varying combinations of sensory, motor and autonomic symptoms, which include numbness of hand and feet, burning pain, feeling of pins and needles, foot drop, hand weakness, constipation, lightheadedness and abnormal sweating. Although peripheral neuropathy is typically not fatal, it frequently significantly decreases quality of life, as the neuropathy symptoms lead to imbalance, gait impairments and falls, difficulties with buttons, using utensils and cutting food. The pain can be intense and relentless. Medications to treat neuropathic pain frequently lack efficacy, and no medications are available to treat numbness or weakness. Peripheral neuropathy can be inherited or acquired.

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is one of the most frequent and debilitating complications of cancer treatment and can last long after chemotherapy has ended. The number of cancer survivors increased from 3.7 million in 1975 to 18.1 million currently living in the US, and this number is expected to grow to 26 million by 2040. Given the high prevalence and significant impact, the National Cancer Institute has declared chemotherapy-induced neuropathy as a specific area of research interest.

Small fiber neuropathy is characterized by loss of peripheral small myelinated and unmyelinated axons. Patients with small fiber neuropathy suffer from burning or prickling pain in feet, hands or entire body, autonomic dysfunction and fatigue. An underlying cause for the neuropathy often remains elusive despite extensive work-up.

Our mission…

…is to improve the lives of people suffering from peripheral neuropathy by

  • identifying molecular mechanisms that underly different aspects of the disease
  • develop new therapeutic avenues
  • provide access to latest discoveries in clinical trials
  • develop lifestyle modifications that enhance the quality of life of patients with neuropathy