Department of Neuroscience
College of Medicine
Departments of Neuroscience, Pathology, Neuropathology
333 W. 10th Ave.
4171 Graves Hall
Columbus, OH 43210
Research Lab Goals / Mission Statement: The mission of an experimental neuropathology laboratory is to seek fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of diseases affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Research Interests: Dr. Otero's particular focus is in the understanding of developmental and neoplastic disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). A major goal of the laboratory is to elucidate the etiologies of perinatal breathing disorders such as apnea of prematurity, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) and, ultimately, the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Current Research: SIDS is a tragic disorder affecting 1 in 2,000 infants. It is the second most common cause of infant death in the United States. Although its incidence has decreased since adopting the "back to sleep” campaign, the epidemic of prematurity (which increases the risk for SIDS) threatens to increase the incidence of this disease. Dr. Otero's goal is to develop a diagnostic screen that would be able to identify children at risk of perinatal breathing disorders such as apnea of prematurity or SIDS. He also seeks to triage treatments most effectively. Dr. Otero proposes to use induced pluripotent stem cells to model development of human breathing neurons. This “disease in a dish” model will increase understanding of how these neurons develop and provide a tool to study genetic causes of apnea such as CCHS. Additional approaches include next-gen sequencing and animal modeling (e.g., transgenic mouse technology) of these disorders.