KSCIRC Neuroscience Cores

The mission of each of the KSCIRC Neuroscience Cores is to support and enhance neuroscience research by assisting in research project development, reviewing research, molecular biology, tissue culture, surgical models, animal behavior, and imaging.

Program Director:
Scott R. Whittemore, Ph.D.

Core A Functions

  • Administer and oversee the Core facilities.  Includes scheduling and documenting core-related meetings, all core-related space and physical plant, and personnel issues.
  • Biostatistical assistance and analysis. Includes consultation on experimental design, adequately powering projected sample size requirements, determining the appropriate statistical procedures for analysis, assessment tests,  and periodically, developing new testing procedures and establishing protocols for their implementation, and thorough documentation of all testing procedures.
  • Grant and experimental design mentorship by senior KSCIRC faculty.  Grants and experiments will be pre-reviewed by KSCIRC faculty.
  • Overseeing pilot grants.  Funding for up to 3 pilot project grants will be awarded each year of funding.  Judging criteria based both on preference to unfunded PIs and innovation/perceived benefit to SCI research.  Awards will be potentially renewable, but such a grant will have to compete with the entire pool of applicants.

Core B functions

  • provide standardized rat and mouse surgery and other animal procedures
  • provide extensive training for research personnel on surgical procedures, anesthesia, animal pre- and post-op care and the use of the three different spinal cord injury devices present in the Core
  • assist laboratories to develop and establish novel surgical procedures

Core C functions to:

  • provide a knowledge base and expertise to facilitate standardized behavioral and electrophysiological assessments of rats and mice.
  • train COBRE/KSCIRC PIs to perform high quality behavioral and electrophysiological assessments
  • assist with the development of novel behavioral and electrophysiological assessment techniques.

Core D functions

  • to provide consultation prior to histological tissue and cell preparation to ensure appropriate and sensitive detection of desired neurobiological endpoints that will provide accurate images for analysis
  • oversee and assist investigators in microscopic imaging of these readouts
  • provide consultation on appropriate analyses of captured readouts.
  • develop novel microscopy-based endpoint measures of the pathobiology of CNS trauma, as well as the evaluation of the efficacy of putative therapeutics.

Core E functions to:

  • to be an innovative resource that will provide expertise for physiological and behavioral assessments of humans after spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • to globally expand the utilization of standardized activity-based training of humans with SCI
  • to support the development and implementation of unique approaches to understand plasticity in human SCI
  • to provide an integrated environment for KSCIRC/COBRE basic scientists to interact with SCI patients and clinical scientists to increase clinical relevance of current and future experimental models of SCI

To enable UofL investigators to take full advantage of the cores, a pilot grant program has been funded as a part of RR031159. The goal of the Pilot Grant Program is to encourage new research programs in the neurotrauma field and facilitate acquisition of preliminary data for subsequent extramural funding. The pilot program is directed to UofL Principal Investigators from outside the KSCIRC but KSCIRC PIs may participate as co-Investigators. The focus of the RFA can include, but is not limited to: 

(i) new technologies to monitor neurotrauma (pathology/physiology/behavioral outcomes),  

(ii) new hypotheses on the pathogenesis of neurotrauma, 

(iii) new therapies/approaches for neurotrauma/neurorepair/neurorehabilitation,

(iv) new technologies to deliver genes/drugs to cellular targets that are relevant for neurotrauma pathology/neurorepair,