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Aleksandra Glavaski-Joksimovic, PhD
Assistant Professor

Department of Neurosurgery

Mailing Address:
VA Medical Center - Research 151
5000 West National Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53295

Publications on PubMed

Research Area: Therapeutic potential of adult stem cells in brain injury and disease.

The research interests of the Neuroscience Research Laboratories at the Zablocki VA Medical Center include the spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and regenerative medicine. My research project within the Neuroscience Research Laboratories focuses on the therapeutic capability of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for brain tissue repair after injury or disease.

MSCs represent a stem cell population present in adult tissues that can be easily procured and expanded in a culture. In terms of possible clinical application, MSCs are not burdened with the ethical issues such as embryonic stem cells, and through the use of patient-specific cells, the immune rejection can be avoided. Importantly, there is growing evidence that MSCs have the capacity to improve neurological function when transplanted into different animal models of neurodegenerative disorders or brain injury. However, the exact mechanism underling the beneficial effect of MSCs is still unknown. My research aims to elucidate mechanisms responsible for MSCs-evoked neural repair and to efficiently utilize these cells for cell therapy. We are also interested in factors that control MSCs migration and, we hope to learn how to effectively target stem cells toward the area of brain damage. Moreover, we are studying the interplay between the endogenous and transplanted stem cells. In the lab, we are currently using naive and genetically modified bone marrow MSCs that have properties of neuroprogenitor-like cells. The efficacy of these cells in different in vitro and in vivo rat models of traumatic brain injury and Parkinson’s disease is evaluated based on morphological, molecular, and quantitative behavioral endpoints. We believe that these studies have great promise to expand our ability to manipulate MSCs, with the ultimate goal of designing efficient autologous stem cell-based therapies.


  • B.Sc., Pharmacy, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia, 1993
  • M.Sc., Endocrinology, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia, 1998
  • Ph.D., Neuroscience and Veterinary Anatomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 2003
  • Postdoctoral Training: Iowa State University, Ames, IA, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden , and Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

Selected Publications

Glavaski-Joksimovic A., Virag T., Mangatu T.A., McGrogan M.P., Wang X.S., Bohn M.C.: Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor-secreting genetically modified human bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells promote recovery in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. Journal of Neuroscience Research 88 (12): 2669-2681, 2010.

Glavaski-Joksimovic A., Virag T., Chan Q, West N.C., Mangatu T.A., McGrogan M.P., Dugich-Djordjevic M.M., Bohn M.C.: Reversal of dopaminergic degeneration in a parkinsonian rat following micrografting of human bone marrow-derived neural progenitors. Cell Transplantation 18 (7): 801-814, 2009. Cover page image.

Glavaski-Joksimovic A., Thonabulsombat C., Wendt M., Eriksson M., Ma H., Olivius P.: Morphological differentiation of Tau-green fluorescent protein embryonic stem cells into neurons after co-culture with auditory brain stem slices. Neuroscience 162 (2): 472-481, 2009. Cover page image.

Glavaski-Joksimovic A., Thonabulsombat C., Wendt M., Eriksson M., Palmgren B., Jonsson A., Olivius P.: Survival, Migration and differentiation of Sox-1-GFP embryonic stem cells in coculture with an auditory brain stem slice preparation. Cloning Stem Cells 10 (1): 75-88, 2008.
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