Ceren Yarar-Fisher Department of Neuroscience

Vice Chair of Research, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Director of Clinical Research, Belford Center for Spinal Cord Injury

College of Medicine
Associate Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Associate Professor, Neuroscience

Dodd Rehabilitation Hospital
480 Medical Center Drive
Columbus, OH 43210

Research Interests

Dr. Yarar-Fisher’s translational research laboratory studies the pathophysiology of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) in the acute and chronic stages, with the purpose of developing novel nutritional and rehabilitation strategies to improve neurorecovery, metabolic and bowel function and microbiome composition.

Current Research

Dr. Yarar-Fisher’s laboratory is developing and testing therapeutic diets and electrical stimulation programs to evaluate new ways to prevent neuronal death, promote recovery and function in the acute stages and improve body composition, gut microbiome composition and skeletal muscle, metabolic and bowel health in the chronic stages of SCI. 

Active Funding

National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research

  • R01 Research Project Grant: Principal investigator. This project will evaluate a ketogenic diet for improvement of neurological recovery in individuals with acute SCI.

Niche Biomedical Inc. dba ANEUVO

  • Effectiveness Trial for an Investigational Device: Site-principal investigator. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of the ExaStim device relative to Sham Stimulation in restoring upper extremity motor function in individuals with chronic SCI.

Selected Publications

  • Li J, Morrow C, McLain A, Womack ED, Yarar-Fisher C. Effects of a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet on gut microbiome composition in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury: Preliminary results from a randomized controlled trial. Published online, ahead of print, Arch Phys Med Rehabil. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2022.03.014.
  • Yarar-Fisher C, Li J, Womack ED, Alharbi A, Seira O, Kolehmainen KL, Plunet WT, Alaeiilkhchi N, Tetzlaff W. Ketogenic regimens for acute neurotraumatic events. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2021;70:68-74.
  • Yarar-Fisher C, Kulkarni A, Li J, Farley P, Renfro C, Aslam H, Bosarge P, Wilson L, Barnes S. Evaluation of a ketogenic diet for improvement of neurological recovery in individuals with acute spinal cord injury: A pilot, randomized safety and feasibility trial. Spinal Cord Ser Cases. 2018;4:1-8.
  • Li J, Morrow C, Barnes S, Wilson L, Womack E, McLain A, Yarar-Fisher C. Gut microbiome composition and serum metabolome profile among individuals with spinal cord injury and normal glucose tolerance or prediabetes/type 2 diabetes. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2021;12:1-7.
  • Yarar-Fisher C, Polston KFL, Eraslan M, Kinikli GI, Henley KY, Bickel CS, Windham ST, McLain AB, Oster RA, Bamman MM. Effects of exercise training vs. a high-protein diet on paralytic and non-paralytic limb muscles in individuals with long-standing spinal cord injury. J Appl Physiol. 2018;125:64-72.
  • PubMed articles


PhD: Auburn University
PT: Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey

Editorial Activities

  • Editorial board member, Spinal Cord Series and Cases

Society and Membership

  • Member, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Member, Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals
  • Member, American Spinal Injury Association
  • Member, American Physiological Society

Honors and Awards

  • Junior Chamber International 2020 Ten Young Outstanding People of Turkey award, 2020
  • Pittman Scholar Award, University of Alabama School of Medicine, 2020
  • Creativity is a Decision Award, Nutrition and Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama, 2015