Central Nervous System (CNS) injury may lead to irreversible damage to cognitive and motor abilities when injured. This is due to the inability of axons to regenerate. This thesis focuses on two methods of promoting axonal regeneration: microtubule stabilization and upregulation of the intrinsic growth capacity of the neuron via the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. Both have shown promising results in potentially being a therapeutic treatment for CNS trauma. This research seeks to (1) test a combinatorial method of axonal regeneration utilizing both methods simultaneously and (2) compare microtubule stabilization and upregulation of the mTOR pathway as neuronal regeneration methods. Aim 1 serves to test the combinatorial treatment of Taxol, a microtubule stabilizer, and cRheb transfection, which upregulates the mTOR pathway, on neuronal cell cultures. Cells were cultured in either a growth-promoting substrate or a mix of growth-promoting and growth-inhibitory substrates. The results of this study revealed combinatorial treatment of 2DIV Taxol application with cRheb transfection as a promising treatment that yielded significantly greater axonal outgrowth than either treatment alone. Aim 2 serves to compare the two established methods of axonal regeneration in the scientific community. Based off of a meta-analysis, results of this aim indicate upregulation of mTOR is more effective at promoting axonal regeneration than microtubule stabilization.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Hawthorne, Alicia


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date