Charles H. Hubscher, Ph.D.

Charles H. Hubscher, Ph.D.

Charles H. Hubscher, Ph.D.

Professor and Vice Chair; Director of Graduate Studies

Office: MDR 530
Phone: (502) 852-3058(502) 852-3058 (office); (502) 852-7201(502) 852-7201(lab)


Research Focus

Dr. Hubscher’s research involves a multidisciplinary approach directed toward (i) understanding the neural mechanisms involved in the control/coordination of male and female urogenital functions, with a current emphasis on bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction following chronic spinal cord injury and (ii) understanding the central neural mechanisms underlying the development and perpetuation of chronic pain, with an emphasis on spinal cord injury-related pains and pelvic/visceral pain. Translational studies involve experiments being done in parallel using a clinically relevant spinal contusion rodent model and studies of urogenital and bowel function in human research participants with complete or incomplete spinal cord injuries. Combinations of electrophysiological, behavioral, immunohistochemical and neuroanatomical techniques are being used in Dr. Hubscher’s animal laboratory.

Current Projects

Effects of activity dependent plasticity on recovery of bladder and sexual function after spinal cord injury: Locomotor training, facilitated by a treadmill, trained therapists, and a harness system in order to provide graded body weight support has shown a range of benefits in both human and animal models after spinal cord injury (SCI). Parallel human and animal studies are underway to assess the impact of step training on non-locomotor functions, specifically bladder, bowel and sexual function. The goal of our current animal studies is to quantify step training induced changes in urodynamic function following SCI and determine if benefits are due to lumbosacral circuitry activation or exercise/metabolic stimulation. EMG recordings are being used to examine interactions between the urinary bladder circuitry and the hind limb. Also, since both exercise and activity dependent tasks are highly influential on a family of molecules called neurotrophic factors, we are examining whether functional urodynamic improvements with training are related to changes in neurotrophin levels in the bladder. Likewise, our experimental studies using human subjects with a SCI focuses on the mechanisms involved in the reorganization of spinal cord circuits for bladder and sexual function with activity-dependent plasticity induced by locomotor training and/or epidural stimulation.

Key Publications

Herrity AN, Petruska JC, Stirling DP, Rau KK, Hubscher CH. The impact of spinal cord injury on the neurochemical profile of vagal neurons. AJP: Reg Int Comp Physiol. 2015 Jun; 308(12): R1021-33.

Ferrero SL, Brady TD, Dugan VP, Armstrong JE, Hubscher CH, Johnson RD. Effects of lateral funiculus sparing, spinal lesion level and gender on recovery of bladder voiding reflexes and hematuria in rats. J Neurotrauma 2015 Feb; 32: 200-208.

Herrity AN, Rau KK, Petruska JC, Stirling DP, Hubscher CH. Identification of bladder and colon afferents in the nodose ganglia of male rats. J Comp Neurol. 2014 May; 522(16): 3667-82.

Ward PJ, Herrity AN, Smith RR, Willhite A, Harrison BJ, Petruska JC, Harkema SJ, Hubscher CH. Novel multi-system functional gains via task specific training in spinal cord injured male rats. J Neurotrauma. 2014 May 1;31(9):819-33.

Hubscher CH, Gupta DS, Brink TS. Convergence and cross talk in urogenital neural circuitries. J Neurophysiol. 2013 Oct;110(8):1997-2005.

Ward PJ, Hubscher CH. Persistent polyuria in a rat spinal contusion model. J Neurotrauma. 2012 Oct 10;29(15):2490-8.

Hall BJ, Lally JE, Vukmanic EV, Armstrong JE, Fell JD, Gupta DS, Hubscher CH. Spinal cord injuries containing asymmetrical damage in the ventrolateral funiculus is associated with a higher incidence of at-level allodynia.
J Pain. 2010 Sep;11(9):864-75.

Hubscher CH, Reed WR, Kaddumi EG, Armstrong JE, Johnson RD. Select spinal lesions reveal multiple ascending pathways in the rat conveying input from the male genitalia. J Physiol. 2010 Apr 1;588(Pt 7):1073-83.

Click to view researcher's PubMed publications