Advisory Board

Professor Riyi Shi

The ScienceDaily article Purdue Scientists Find Hypertension Drug Reverses Death Of Cells said

Purdue University researchers have identified a drug commonly used to treat hypertension that may also reverse damage from spinal cord injuries, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
A research team led by Riyi Shi and Richard Borgens found that hydralazine, a medication that relaxes veins and arteries, may be an antidote for acrolein, a deadly toxin that is produced after a nerve cell is injured.
Acrolein stays in the body for days and is responsible for secondary damage that keeps injured cells from healing. The idea to use hydralazine against acrolein is a logical extension of research on the toxin, such as the use of a beta blocker against high blood pressure or chicken soup for a cold, Shi said.
“Acrolein is one of the causes of free radicals that are known to damage cells, so it makes sense to stop them from ever being produced,” said Shi, who is associate professor of basic medical science in Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “With hydralazine, we are attacking the root of the problem rather than the symptom.”

Riyi Shi, M.D., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Basic Medical Sciences, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Center for Paralysis Research, Purdue University.
Riyi is a medical scientist specializing in uncovering the mechanisms of central nervous system trauma and instituting new treatments through innovative experimentation and pioneering new strategies in the field. His research contributions includes originating the use of double sucrose gap technique for recording action potential conduction, establishing the methods of neuronal membrane resealing by polyethelyne glycol (PEG), and identifying acrolein as a key pathological factor in spinal cord injury.
His research interests also include using nanotechnology to improve drug delivery to nervous tissue and incorporating biomedical engineering principles to enhance neuronal repair. This includes designing innovative scaffolds to enhance neuronal regeneration and using bioadhesives for neuronal tissue repair.
Riyi coauthored Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering Imaging of Axonal Myelin in Live Spinal Tissues, Decreased functions of astrocytes on carbon nanofiber materials, Immediate recovery from spinal cord injury through molecular repair of nerve membranes with polyethylene glycol, Acute Repair of Crushed Guinea Pig Spinal Cord by Polyethylene Glycol, Polyethylene glycol immediately repairs neuronal membranes and inhibits free radical production after acute spinal cord injury, and Conduction Block in Acute and Chronic Spinal Cord Injury: Different Dose—Response Characteristics for Reversal by 4-Aminopyridine. Read the full list of his publications!
Riyi earned his M.D. at Shanghai Second Medical University, China in 1984, his M.S. at University of North Texas, USA in 1988, and his Ph.D. at Purdue University, USA in 1994. He did his postdoctoral work from 1994 to 1997 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. He holds patent Pyridines for treating injured mammalian nerve tissue.
Read Researchers use nanoparticles to deliver treatment for brain, spinal cord injuries, “Cars” imaging reveals clues to myelin damage, Researchers Splice Severed Spinal Cords, New Imaging Approach Promises Insights Into Multiple Sclerosis, and Purdue Engineers: Metal Nano-bumps Could Improve Artificial Body Parts.