School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Welcome to the DeGracia Laboratory

The lab as of Summer, 2017
Back: Gabriel, Zhi-Feng, Don
Front: Doaa, Fika, Shreya


4116 Scott Hall
540 E. Canfield
Detroit, MI 48201

(313) 577-6745 (Office)
(313) 577-3948 (Lab)
(313) 577-5494 (FAX)


Post-ischemic stress responses: We study the mechanisms of cell death following brain ischemia and reperfusion, focusing on the causes and consequences of reperfusion-induced inhibition of protein synthesis, or translation arrest.  This translation arrest is part of the post-ischemic neuronal stress response.  We have evaluated classical ribosome biochemistry, intracellular stress responses and most recently began investigating mRNA regulatory mechanisms, including stress granules and HuR granules.The MICROSCOPY section below shows some of our microscopic work identifiying new structures in post-ischemic neurons related to post-ischemic stress responses.

Cell injury dynamics: We recently developed a nonlinear dynamical model of cell injury. The model clearly predicts that cell injury should display bifurcations to bistable phase planes under the proper parameter constraints. Bistability in turn provides completely new insights about the nature of any protective therapeutics which are intended to take an injured system that is on a pro-death trajectory and convert it to a prosurvival trajectory. See DeGracia, Huang & Huang (2012) for a complete discussion. The animations below show some output from the cell injury model. Click on the image to see the animations in a new window.


January 2018. Our contribution to the book Neuroprotective Therapy for Stroke and Ischemic Disease, edited by Paul Lapchack and John Zhang, Chapter 3: Neuroprotection Is Technology, Not Science is now out in print. This is exciting because it introduces our newest versions of the nonlinear dyamical theory of acute cell injury and discusses possible techologies to emerge from the theory.

November 2017. Gabriel Rababeh and Shreya Sutariya presented posters at WSU Undergrad Research Day and at the Physics Research Conferance. Congrats to Shreya for Best Poster at the Physics Conferance!

October, 2017. Fika Tri Anggraini, MD, successfully defended her PhD dissertation on Estimating the Variables of the Nonlinear Dynamical Model of Cell Injury. Congratulaitons to Dr.^2 Anggraini!

July 2017. Doaa Taha has successfully defended her PhD on pattern formation in nonlinear systems (including the cell injury theory) in the Department of Physics and Astronomy! Congratulations, Dr. Doaa Taha!

Summer 2017. The lab obtained the Barber Award through the Department of Physics and Astronomy and will support two undergraduate students coming into the lab over the summer to work on the nonlinear dynamical theory of cell injury. The students are: Shreya Sutariya, Junior in Mathematics and Physics, and Gabriel Rababeh, Sophomore in Biophysics. Congratulations Shreya and Gabriel!


1. Example of a single phase plane. This image simply rotates on a single phase plane and shows a pro-survival trajectory from initial conditions (D0, S0) = (0, 0) to the survival attractors at (D*, S*) = (0, 1). 2. This animation illustrates a monstable injury course, where there is only one fixed point (D*, S*) at each value of injury, I, across the injury course. 3. This animation illustrates a bistable type A injury course, where there are two fixed points (D*, S*) through a subrange of I values across the injury course. Note the abrupt transition to cell death. 4. A higher dimensional parameter space in I and cS. For cS < 1.5, the system is doubley bistable. For 1.5 <= cS <= 4, the system is type A bistable. At some value of cS > 4, the system reverts to monstable (not shown on graph). Note topology of the parameters space.




3D microscope reconstructions of neurons. Click the button to the left.


  1. DeGracia DJ. Disease of mRNA Regulation: Relevance for Ischemic Brain Injury. Transl Stroke Res. 2017 Nov 10. doi: 10.1007/s12975-017-0586-7. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29127592. [Pubmed Abstract]
  2. DeGracia DJ. Regulation of mRNA following brain ischemia and reperfusion. Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2017 Jul;8(4). PubMed PMID: 28097803. [Pubmed Abstract]
  3. Wang H, Tri Anggraini F, Chen X, DeGracia DJ. Embryonic lethal abnormal vision proteins and adenine and uridine-rich element mRNAs after global cerebral ischemia and reperfusion in the rat. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2016 Jul 5. pii: 0271678X16657572. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27381823. [View online]
  4. DeGracia DJ, Anggraini FT, Metwally Taha DT, and Huang ZF. Inductive and Deductive Approaches to Acute Cell Injury. International Scholarly Research Notices. 2014, Article ID 859341, 15 pages [Download].
  5. Szymanski JJ, Wang H, Jamison JT, DeGracia DJ. HuR function and translational state analysis following global brain ischemia and reperfusion. Transl Stroke Res. 2013 Dec;4(6):589-603.(PubMed).
  6. Lewis MK, Jamison JT, Dunbar JC, DeGracia DJ. mRNA redistribution during permanent focal cerebral ischemia. Transl Stroke Res. 2013 Dec;4(6):604-17. (PubMed).
  7. DeGracia DJ. A program for solving brain ischemia. Brain Sci. 2013, 3(2), 460-503. Invited paper for Special Issue of Brain Sciences: "Neuroprotection against Ischemic Brain Injury." [Download].
  8. DeGracia DJ, Huang ZF, Huang S. A nonlinear dynamical theory of cell injury. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2012 Jun;32(6):1000-13. [Download] [Download Supplemental Files]
  9. Szymanski JJ, Jamison JT, DeGracia DJ. Texture analysis of poly-adenylated mRNA staining following global brain ischemia and reperfusion. Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2012 Jan;105(1):81-94. [Download]
  10. Jamison JT, Szymanski JJ, DeGracia DJ. Organelles do not colocalize with mRNA granules in post-ischemic neurons. Neuroscience. 2011 Dec 29;199:394-400. [Download]
  11. Jamison JT, Lewis MK, Kreipke CW, Rafols JA, DeGracia DJ. Polyadenylated mRNA staining reveals distinct neuronal phenotypes following endothelin 1, focal brain ischemia, and global brain ischemia/ reperfusion. Neurol Res. 2011 Mar;33(2):145-61. [Download]
  12. DeGracia DJ. Towards a dynamical network view of brain ischemia and reperfusion. 2010. A four part series published in the Journal of Experimental Stroke and Translational Medicine.
    1. Part I: Background and Preliminaries. [Download]
    2. Part II: A Post-ischemic State Space. [Download]
    3. Part III: Therapeutic Implications. [Download]
    4. Part IV: Additional Considerations. [Download]
    5. Commentary by Professor Konstantine Hossmann on the Bistable Model of Brain Ischemia. [Download]
    6. Reply by Dr. DeGracia in response to Dr. Hossmann's comments. [Download]
  13. DeGracia DJ. Ischemic damage and neuronal stress responses: Towards a systematic approach with implications for therapeutic treatments. In New Frontiers in Neurological Research. Wang DQ and Ying W (eds). Research Signpost,Kerala, India. 2008. pp 235-264. [Download]
  14. DeGracia DJ, Jamison JT, Szymanski JR, Marshall MK. Translation Arrest and Ribonomics In Post-ischemic Brain: Layers and Layers of Players. J Neurochem. 2008 Sep;106(6):2288-301. Epub 2008 Jul 8. [Download]
  15. Jamison JT, Kayali F, Rudolph J, Marshall M, Kimball SR, DeGracia DJ. Persistent redistribution of poly-adenylated mRNAs correlates with translation arrest and cell death following global brain ischemia and reperfusion. Neuroscience. 2008 Jun 23;154(2):504-20. [Download]
  16. Roberts GG, Di Loreto MJ, Marshall M, Wang J, DeGracia DJ. Hippocampal cellular stress responses after global brain ischemia and reperfusion. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Dec;9(12):2265-75.  [Download]   
  17. DeGracia DJ, Rudolph J, Roberts GG, Rafols JA, Wang J. Convergence of stress granules and protein aggregates in hippocampal cornu ammonis 1 at later reperfusion following global brain ischemia. Neuroscience. 2007 May 11;146(2):562-72.  [Download]
  18. DeGracia DJ & Hu BR.  Irreversible translation arrest in the reperfused brain. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2007 May;27(5):875-93.  [Download]  
  19. DeGracia DJ, Rafols JA, Morley SJ, Kayali F. Immunohistochemical Mapping of Total and Phosphorylated eIF4G In Rat Hippocampus Following Global Brain Ischemia and Reperfusion. Neuroscience. 2006;139(4):1235-48.  [Download]
  20. Kayali F, Montie HL, Rafols JA, DeGracia DJ. Prolonged Translation Arrest in Reperfused Hippocampal CA1 Is Mediated By Stress Granules. Neuroscience. 2005;134(4):1223-45.  [Download]
  21. Montie HL, Haezebrouck AJ, Gutwald JC, DeGracia DJ. PERK Is Differentially Activated In Peripheral Organs Following Cardiac Arrest and Resuscitation.  Resuscitation. 2005 Sep;66(3):379-89.  [Download]
  22. Montie HL, Kayali F, Haezebrouck AJ, Rossi NF, DeGracia DJ. Renal Ischemia and Reperfusion Activates the eIF2 alpha kinase PERK. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Sep 25;1741(3):314-24.  [Download]
  23. DeGracia DJ, Montie HL. Cerebral ischemia and the unfolded protein response. J Neurochem. 2004 Oct;91(1):1-8.  [Download]
  24. DeGracia DJ. Acute and persistent protein synthesis inhibition following cerebral reperfusion. J Neurosci Res. 2004 Sep 15;77(6):771-6.  [Download]
  25. Kumar R, Krause GS, Yoshida H, Mori K, DeGracia DJ.  Dysfunction of the Unfolded Protein Response During Global Brain Ischemia and Reperfusion. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2003;23:462-471.  [Download]
  26. DeGracia DJ, Kumar R, Owen C, Krause GS, White BC. Molecular Pathways of Protein Synthesis Inhibition During Brain Reperfusion: Implications For Neuronal Survival or Death. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2002 Feb;22(2):127-141.  [Download]
  27. Kumar R, Azam S, Sullivan JM, Owen C, Cavener DR, Zhang P, Ron D, Harding HP, Chen JJ, Han A, White BC, Krause GS, DeGracia DJ. Brain ischemia and reperfusion activates the eukaryotic initiation factor 2a kinase,PERK. J. Neurochem. 2001;77:1418-1421.  [Download]
  28. DeGracia DJ, Adamczyk S, Folbe AJ, Konkoly LL, Pittman JE, Neumar RW, Sullivan JM, Scheuner DL, Kaufman RJ, White BC, Krause GS.  Eukaryotic initiation factor 2a (eIF2a) kinase and phosphatase activity during post-ischemic brain reperfusion. Experimental Neurology, 1999;155(2):221-227.  [Download]
  29. DeGracia DJ, Sullivan JM, Neumar RW, Alousi SS, Hikade KR, Pittman JE, White BC, Rafols JA, Krause GS.  Effect of brain ischemia and reperfusion  on the localization of phosphorylated eukaryotic initiation factor 2a. J Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. 1997;17:1291-1302.  [Download]
  30. DeGracia DJ, Neumar RW, White, BC, Krause GS.  Global brain ischemia and reperfusion: Modifications in eukaryotic initiation factors are associated with inhibition of translation  initiation.  J Neurochem. 1996;67:2005-2012.  [Download]