Herbert Geller graduated with a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow and the University of Rochester. He then joined the Department of Pharmacology and Neurology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey becoming a professor in 1985 before moving to the NIH in 2001. Dr. Geller has authored or co-authored more than 125 papers, and he sits on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience and the Journal of Neuroscience Methods. Dr. Geller is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Geller's laboratory studies neuron/glial interactions, especially the role of glial-derived extracellular matrix molecules in controlling axonal growth and guidance during development and after injury. In particular, the family of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs), which serve to limit growth and plasticity in the nervous system. CSPGs are comprised of a protein core to which a long sugar chain is attached. Dr. Geller and his colleagues have demonstrated that the actions of CSPGs can be attributed to the sugar portion of the molecule, and have identified sulfation patterns within the sugar that are responsible. Current research is focused on determining the structural features of the sugar chain that signal to neurons as well as identifying the cell surface receptors and downstream signaling cascades that control the neuronal response to CSPGs. The ultimate goal is to translate these discoveries into medical therapies for brain and spinal cord injury.