Styliani-Anna (Stella) E. Tsirka

Styliani-Anna (Stella) E. Tsirka

Professor, Pharmacological Sciences
PhD, University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Phone: (631) 444-3859

T8-192 Health Sciences Center

Stony Brook Glial Network

The Tsirka Lab Website




Proteases modulate neuronal cell structure and viability in the CNS. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is an extracellular serine protease originally studied for its ability to dissolve thrombotic clots in the vascular system. tPA initiates a proteolytic cascade that ultimately mediates the degeneration of neuronal cells after experimental injury in the hippocampus. Mice lacking tPA are resistant to excitotoxin-induced neuronal death, and wild-type mice can be made resistant through the administration of tPA inhibitors. Similar resistance is observed in mice deficient for tPA’s substrate, plasminogen. tPA may function under physiological conditions to regulate neurite outgrowth. In addition, tPA via a non-proteolytic mechanism has a second role, which is to trigger the activation of microglial cells. Microglia are immune-competent, macrophage-like cells that reside in the CNS and are involved in modulation of neuronal survival under conditions of excessive neuronal stimulation, or are hypothesized to affect neuronal structural changes occurring in response to neuronal activity. Our research interests concern the communication, signaling events and cell-cell interactions between neurons and microglia following normal or exaggerated stimulation of the central nervous system that lead to reorganization of neuronal connections in the brain or neuronal cell death.

  • Publications
  • Laboratory Personnel
  • Kyungmin Ji - Postdoctoral fellow
  • Jaime Emmetsberger - Graduate Student
  • Haiyan Zhai - Graduate Student
  • Noreen Bukhari - Graduate Student
  • Yao Yao - Graduate Student
  • Zhen Gao - Graduate Student
  • George Georghiou - Undergraduate Student
  • Dorothy Konomos - Project Aide
  • Chun Zhou - Research Support Specialist