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Theodoor Hagg

Endowed Chair in Neurological Surgery

School of Medicine

Theodoor Hagg, M.D., Ph.D. joined U of L as a professor of neurological surgery and has a joint appointment in the department of pharmacology and toxicology. As a team member of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, he runs the Laboratory of Innovative Factor-based Therapies (LIFT).

The laboratory investigates how certain proteins in the nervous system affect cell survival and growth with the goal of therapeutically reducing the ongoing degeneration of nerve fibers after injury. The lab is focusing on pharmacological approaches involving small molecules that mimic or alter the structure of natural molecules. These may be used to target growth factor and other receptors that stimulate or inhibit proteins that contribute to degeneration or regeneration. This knowledge is used to design treatments targeted to the nervous system to reduce side effects and maximize effectiveness in reducing progressive damage after spinal cord injury. The laboratory is also investigating the molecules that regulate neural stem cells with the goal of developing drugs to stimulate replacement of cells from within the brain and spinal cord. The laboratory’s mission is to develop experimental treatments that ultimately would lead to better functional outcomes for people with spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders.

Hagg has ongoing research support from the National Institutes of Health and the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust. He has published more than 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts and reviews in journals such as Experimental Neurology, Journal of Neuroscience and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Prior to joining the U of L faculty, Hagg was a Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Canada).

Hagg earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California San Diego and his M.D. and Masters in Neuroscience from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. His bachelor of science degree in medicine is from the University of Amsterdam.

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