Scientists from The Ohio State University College of Medicine are recipients of a five-year, $1.7 million award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for spinal cord injury research.
Lyn Jakeman, an associate professor of physiology and cell biology, and colleagues are interested in the chemical signals that drive re-growth of damaged pathways after spinal cord injury. Ultimately, the researchers are hopeful that altering cellular behavior will promote repair of the injured spinal cord.
According to Jakeman, animals such as salamanders can regenerate their spinal cords after injury because their cells form a bridge across the injury site. However, when a spinal cord injury occurs in humans, the same types of cells receive different signals and a scar forms, preventing the re-growth of nerve cells.
“We want to understand the growth factors and signaling molecules that can promote the formation of cell bridges so we can develop new therapies that target existing cells in the human spinal cord. The long-term goal is to repair the damaged nerve pathways and improve function for people who have had a spinal cord injury,” adds Jakeman.
to view a video about Jakeman’s research.