Skip to content

Other ways to search: Events Calendar | UTHSC News

Stroke Research

Nurse scientists at the UT Health Science Center College of Nursing lead improvements in stroke care through research.


Acute Stroke Management

People in front of flags



Professor Anne Alexandrov, PhD, RN, AGACNP-BC, CCRN, ANVP-BC, NVRN-BC, FAAN, is considered the leading international nursing expert in acute stroke management. She has been funded by the National Institutes of Nursing Research for $2.3 million on a five-year multisite clinical trial titled, Zero-Degree Head Positioning in Acute Large Vessel Ischemic Stroke, or ZODIAC, that is dramatically changing practice for patients suffering from acute large vessel occlusion stroke. The trial tested a novel head positioning intervention in the pre-thrombectomy period of care in 92 patients at 12 sites, and was closed by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board on Nov. 1, 2023, due to the overwhelmingly positive results of 0-degree head positioning. The clinical trial’s conclusion was that 0-degree head positioning is safe and imparts stability and clinical improvement in large vessel occlusion stroke patients during the pre-thrombectomy period, making head positioning an important rescue procedure.

Dr. Alexandrov also served as the chief nurse practitioner on the Mobile Stroke Unit that launched in Memphis in 2016. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Stroke Clinician, the official journal of the Association of Neurovascular Clinicians (ANVC). Her current program of research is exploring post-thrombectomy vascular dynamics in relation to resumption of activity, the use of specialty stroke units as a method to improve stroke patient outcomes, and sonothrombolysis in patients requiring transport to a higher level of care services for thrombectomy. Dr. Alexandrov has authored more than 150 original scientific publications related to her work in the area of stroke-reperfusion therapies, experimental blood flow augmentation strategies, and stroke center development and credentialing, and holds a U.S. patent for ultrasound-enhanced thrombolysis and perfusion.

Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

woman in lab

Associate Dean of Research Ansley Stanfill, PhD, RN, FAAN, focuses on aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, multi-omics research, and traumatic brain injury in her program of research.

She received $1.1 million from the National Institutes of Health in 2018 for a grant titled “A multivariate predictive model for long-term disability post subarachnoid hemorrhage in Caucasian and African-American populations.” This project promotes a better understanding of the relative influences that social, clinical, and genetic factors have on a disability after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and provides insight on the disparities in outcomes seen between Caucasian and Black patients. This work forms the foundation for a long-term program of research in developing targeted interventions to reduce post-stroke disability and improve outcomes.

Dr. Stanfill also received funding for an NIH supplemental proposal, “Common Fund Data Supplement to A Multivariate Predictive Model for Long-term Disability Post Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in Caucasian and African Populations” for $61,745.

The supplement allows the investigation of genotype and gene expression data from brain tissues and blood held in the NIH Common Fund Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) dataset. Use of this dataset allows the measurement of selected single nucleotide polymorphisms for influences on gene expression in brain tissue, which offers the opportunity to explore how the brain environment is altered in a patient with these genetic variants. The GTEx project also gave researchers the ability to determine whether similar changes occur in blood, and which in turn could be used as surrogate markers for brain expression. This information could form the crux of a point-of-care test, by which personalized pharmacologic intervention might occur.

In addition, Dr. Stanfill received funding from the National Academy of Neuropsychology for a study titled “The utility of the Neuro-QoL measures to trigger neuropsychological assessment post-aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage: A pilot study” for $15,000. The purpose of the study is to determine the utility of the Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders (Neuro-QoL) cognition short form (NQ-CSF) as a benchmark to trigger individual patient referrals for in-depth clinical neuropsychological assessment.

Mar 25, 2024