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About the Center

The Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC) at the University of Louisville (UofL).

The Center was opened in 2001 and is located in newly renovated contiguous space in the Medical Dental Research Building close to the three major Hospitals of the University of Louisville Health Science Center.  KSCIRC is led by Scientific Director Scott R. Whittemore, Ph.D., who is committed to further developing it into a world-class scientific and clinical Research Center.  The Center is in a rapid growth phase, made possible by funding and excellent cooperation between the State of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Norton Healthcare, and a recent $5.5 Million grant from NIH.  Our Center is one of twelve spinal cord injury research centers in the United States.  It is in a unique position to conduct research that, through our close association with our clinical colleagues in the Department of Neurological Surgery, we expect will ultimately lead to effective treatments for spinal cord injury.  This goal is guided by our mission: "to develop successful spinal cord repair strategies in the laboratory that can be taken to the clinic in a timely and responsible fashion".  This goal will be facilitated by our plan to double the size and scientific impact of the Center over the next five years.

Group photo of the Department of Neurological Surgery

Promising Research
Exciting areas of research are being investigated and include:

  • Preventing neuronal and axonal loss after spinal injury
  • Promoting regeneration of functioning sensory and motor pathways after spinal cord injury
  • Characterizing and reconstructing the neural circuitry that controls locomotion
  • Neural stem cells and their precursors for repair strategies
  • Modulating chemical signaling pathways that control cell survival and cell death;
  • Discovering molecules that regulate spinal cord development
  • Developing acute surgical approaches to spinal cord repair
  • Utilizing gene therapy for spinal cord repair
  • Characterizing autonomic and sexual dysfunction after spinal cord injury
  • Developing novel clinically relevant spinal cord injury models
  • Modulating angiogenic responses after spinal cord injury
  • Novel imaging methods in acute human spinal cord injury



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