Dr. Shih’s research focuses on the small blood vessels that delivery oxygen and nutrients to all reaches of the brain. In the human brain, an estimated 400 miles of blood vessels delivers blood to 100 billion neurons. This immensely complex task can easily go awry during human disease. When we are young, genetic and environmental factors can compromise the normal development of brain vasculature.
As we age, leakage and blockage of small vessels can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Our laboratory studies how blood vessels grow, degrade, and respond to injury from birth to senescence. We hope that our research will yield new ways to reduce to improve cerebrovascular function in brain diseases that affect both children and adults.