Professor and Chair, Department of Neuroscience
Executive Director, Belford Center for Spinal Cord Injury
Director, Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair
Faculty Affiliate, Chronic Brain Injury
676 Biomedical Research Tower
460 W. 12th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
An often-overlooked feature of a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is the permanent damage cause to the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Many autonomic neurons, including all that comprise the sympathetic branch of the ANS, are located in the spinal cord. After a SCI, profound dysautonomia develops, wreaking havoc on all organ systems, of which the immune system is arguably the most important. Indeed, insufficient or excessive immune responses cause disease and impair healing. All current projects in the Popovich lab are driven by the overall hypothesis that after SCI, an aberrant autonomic anti-inflammatory reflex develops that breaks immune homeostasis which in turn causes or contributes to various pathological sequelae including gastrointestinal dysfunction, systemic infection and deficits in tissue repair (within and outside the spinal cord).
The Popovich lab uses both “macroscopic” (physiological systems function, behavior) and “microscopic” (cells to molecules to microbes to genes) tools to study the pathophysiological significance of altered neuro-immune communication after SCI.
Education and Training
PhD: Physiology, The Ohio State University, 1995
Post-Doc: Immunology, The Ohio State University, 1997