MGH University


The Neurovascular Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School is a translational research lab dedicated to the study of neurovascular diseases including ischemic stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, migraine, and cerebral small vessel disease. We employ a wide range of experimental models of migraine and brain injury to assess tissue, physiological and neurological outcomes in rodents, and complement these with mechanistic studies dissecting tissue function, perfusion and metabolism using cutting-edge optical, MR and electrophysiological techniques. Our laboratory integrates a broad spectrum of research tools from molecular biology and physiology to functional neuroimaging. Dr. Cenk Ayata leads a collaborative team of MGH investigators with a wide range of expertise in experimental stroke therapeutics, rodent stroke MRI imaging, and translational clinical trials.



Shin, H.K., S. Salomone, and C. Ayata, Targeting cerebrovascular Rho-kinase in stroke. Expert Opin Ther Targets, 2008. 12(12): p. 1547-64.

Shin, H.K., P.L. Huang, and C. Ayata, Rho-kinase inhibition improves ischemic perfusion deficit in hyperlipidemic mice. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 2014. 34(2): p. 284-7.

Lee, J.H., et al., Selective ROCK2 Inhibition In Focal Cerebral Ischemia. Ann Clin Transl Neurol, 2014. 1(1): p. 2-14.

Shin, H.K., et al., Rho-kinase inhibition acutely augments blood flow in focal cerebral ischemia via endothelial mechanisms. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 2007. 27(5): p. 998-1009.

Harriott A.M., Karakaya F., Ayata C., Headache after ischemic stroke: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neurology. 2020 Jan 7;94(1):e75-e86.

Schlunk F., Böhm M., Boulouis G., Qin T., Arbel M., Tamim I., Fischer P., Bacskai BJ., Frosch MP., Endres M., Greenberg SM., Ayata C., Secondary Bleeding During Acute Experimental Intracerebral Hemorrhage. Stroke. 2019 May;50(5):1210-1215.

Suzuki T., Takizawa T., Kamio Y., Qin T., Hashimoto T., Fujii Y., Murayama Y., Patel AB., Ayata C., Noninvasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation Prevents Ruptures and Improves Outcomes in a Model of Intracranial Aneurysm in Mice. Stroke. 2019 May;50(5):1216-1223.

Oka F., Chung DY., Suzuki M., Ayata C., Delayed Cerebral Ischemia After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Experimental-Clinical Disconnect and the Unmet Need. Neurocrit Care. 2020 Feb;32(1):238-251.

Akhter M., Qin T., Fischer P., Sadeghian H., Kim HH., Whalen MJ., Goldstein JN., Ayata C., Rho-kinase inhibitors do not expand hematoma volume in acute experimental intracerebral hemorrhage. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2018 May 1;5(6):769-776.

Lan J., Esposito E., Ayata C., Singhal AB., Lo EH., Ji X., Different Effects of Normobaric Oxygen in Normotensive Versus Hypertensive Rats After Focal Cerebral Ischemia. Stroke. 2018 Jun;49(6):1534-1537.

Xie H., Yu K., Zhou N., Shen X., Tian S., Zhang B., Wang Y., Wu J., Liu G., Jiang C., Hu R., Ayata C., Wu Y., Enriched Environment Elicits Proangiogenic Mechanisms After Focal Cerebral Ischemia. Transl Stroke Res. 2019 Apr;10(2):150-159.

Herisson F., Zhou I., Mawet J., Du E., Barfejani AH., Qin T., Cipolla MJ., Sun PZ., Rost NS., Ayata C., Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats on high-salt diet. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2019 Jul;39(7):1232-1246.

Sun PZ., Ayata C., Lo EH., Fleeting footprints: finding MRI biomarkers of transient ischaemic attack. Brain. 2017 Jan;140(1):8-10.

Kim YS., Yoo A., Son JW., Kim HY., Lee YJ., Hwang S., Lee KY., Lee YJ., Ayata C., Kim HH., Koh SH., Early Activation of Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase after Ischemic Stroke Reduces Infarct Volume and Improves Long-Term Behavior. Mol Neurobiol. 2017 Sep;54(7):5375-5384.

Mandeville ET., Ayata C., Zheng Y., Mandeville JB., Translational MR Neuroimaging of Stroke and Recovery. Transl Stroke Res. 2017 Feb;8(1):22-32.

Hoffmann U., Sheng H., Ayata C., Warner DS., Anesthesia in Experimental Stroke Research. Transl Stroke Res. 2016 Oct;7(5):358-67.

Oka F., Hoffmann U., Lee JH., Shin HK., Chung DY., Yuzawa I., Chen SP., Atalay YB., Nozari A., Hopson KP., Qin T., Ayata C., Requisite ischemia for spreading depolarization occurrence after subarachnoid hemorrhage in rodents. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2017 May;37(5):1829-1840.

Boltze J., Wagner DC., Henninger N., Plesnila N., Ayata C., Phase III Preclinical Trials in Translational Stroke Research: Community Response on Framework and Guidelines. Transl Stroke Res. 2016 Aug;7(4):241-7.

Chung DY., Oka F., Ayata C., Spreading Depolarizations: A Therapeutic Target Against Delayed Cerebral Ischemia After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. J Clin Neurophysiol. 2016 Jun;33(3):196-202.

Mawet J., Eikermann-Haerter K., Park KY., Helenius J., Daneshmand A., Pearlman L., Avery R., Negro A., Velioglu M., Arsava EM., Ay H., Ayata C., Sensitivity to acute cerebral ischemic injury in migraineurs: A retrospective case-control study. Neurology. 2015 Dec 1;85(22):1945-9.

Sakadžić S., Lee J., Boas DA., Ayata C., High-resolution in vivo optical imaging of stroke injury and repair. Brain Res. 2015 Oct 14;1623:174-92.

Blasi F., Herisson F., Wang S., Mao J., Ayata C., Late-onset thermal hypersensitivity after focal ischemic thalamic infarcts as a model for central post-stroke pain in rats. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2015 Jul;35(7):1100-3.

von Bornstädt D., Houben T., Seidel JL., Zheng Y., Dilekoz E., Qin T., Sandow N., Kura S., Eikermann-Haerter K., Endres M., Boas DA., Moskowitz MA., Lo EH., Dreier JP., Woitzik J., Sakadžić S., Ayata C., Supply-demand mismatch transients in susceptible peri-infarct hot zones explain the origins of spreading injury depolarizations. Neuron. 2015 Mar 4;85(5):1117-31.

Chaparro RE., Izutsu M., Sasaki T., Sheng H., Zheng Y., Sadeghian H., Qin T., von Bornstadt D., Herisson F., Duan B., Li JS., Jiang K., Pearlstein M., Pearlstein RD., Smith DE., Goldberg ID., Ayata C., Warner DS.., Sustained functional improvement by hepatocyte growth factor-like small molecule BB3 after focal cerebral ischemia in rats and mice. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2015 Jun;35(6):1044-53.

Blasi F., Whalen MJ., Ayata C., Lasting pure-motor deficits after focal posterior internal capsule white-matter infarcts in rats. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2015 Jun;35(6):977-84.

Eikermann-Haerter K., Lee JH., Yalcin N., Yu ES., Daneshmand A., Wei Y., Zheng Y., Can A., Sengul B., Ferrari MD., van den Maagdenberg AM., Ayata C., Migraine prophylaxis, ischemic depolarizations, and stroke outcomes in mice. Stroke. 2015 Jan;46(1):229-36.

Mawet J., Kurth T., Ayata C., Migraine and stroke: in search of shared mechanisms. Cephalalgia. 2015 Feb;35(2):165-81.


Meet the Team

News image for the front page
Cenk Ayata MD (PI)
Siyue Li
Takahiko Imai
W. Taylor Kimberly MD, PhD
Klaus van Leyen PhD
Ken Arai PhD
Joseph Mandeville PhD
Tao Qin
Eng Lo
Andreia Morais PhD