Spinal Cord Injury & Repair
The mission of the Spinal Cord Injury Laboratory is to combine novel bioengineering methods with stem cell derivatives in order to develop a clinically relevant spinal cord injury therapy model. We use oligodendrocyte precursors derived from pluripotent human stem cells and study their effect in repairing contused spinal cord tissue in conjunction with acute hypothermia. The mechanism and extent of repair are studied in great detail using cutting edge tools such as electrophysiology, DT-MRI, and electron microscopy.
Ultimately, our spinal cord research team plans to develop and combine acute and chronic therapeutic strategies in a clinically relevant model of injury for scientists as well as clinicians (bench-to-bedside).
Overview of Projects
Stem Cell-Derived Oligodendrocytes
The focus of our translational research is the use of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (shown to the right) derived from either human embryonic stem cells (hESC) or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for application in a rodent model of contusive spinal cord injury. Read more
We combine cell replacement therapy with acute hypothermia therapy, which has been demonstrated to have a neuroprotective effect and which limits the secondary phase of spinal cord injury. Read more
We also perform monitoring, recording and quantitative analyses of multi-channel somatosensory and motor evoked potentials to assess the electrical conductivity in the central nervous system at various stages, both pre- and post-therapy. This is a very significant feature of our bioengineering laboratory which enables us to demonstrate functional improvement related to both acute and chronic treatment procedures in a reliable and objective manner. In addition to validating the extent and progress of injury, our focus lies in determining long-term functional recovery within the axonal pathways. Read more
We utilize a variety of bio-engineering assessment technologies, such as DT-MRI and electron microscopy, to monitor anatomical changes in the injured spinal cord architecture at various time points following treatment. These images allow us to identify spared fibers, track the extent of secondary injury and determine the therapeutic benefits of the therapy. Read more