Mission Statement: Our mission is to bridge the gap between scientific discovery and clinical application by 1) developing and optimizing promising therapies and 2) improving existing protocols, for the treatment of people with spinal cord injury.

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Upcoming Events

  • May 29th - 3:30pm: Kiki Yang, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA. Modularity in full transection spinal cord injury models in rodents- new fundamental insights into spinal plasticity.
  • May 27th - 12pm: Seminar by Murray Blackmore, Ph.D., Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI. Transcriptional Control of Axon Growth in the Central Nervous System.
  • May 20th - 12pm: Seminar by Alon Friedman, PhD, Depts of Med Neuroscience and Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.
  • May 18th - 6-8pm: Join WHYY and Pint of Science as we celebrate groundbreaking scientific research in our backyard. Dr. Michael Lane, an innovator in the field of spinal cord injury from Drexel University College of Medicine. Where: WHYY, 150 N. 6th St, Philadelphia PA 19106.
  • May 6th - 12pm: Seminar by Ming-Hu Han, PhD, Dept of Pharmacology & Systems Therapeutics, Friedman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.
  • April 29th - 12pm: Seminar by Ronald Harris-Warrick, PhD, Dept of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Role of identified spinal interneurons in health and after spinal cord injury.
  • April 22nd - 12pm: Seminar by Andrew Cohen, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.
  • April 17th - 12pm: Seminar by Andrew Spence, Department of Bioengineering, College of Engineering, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Gait, posture, pogo-sticks and newfangled neurogenetics: How do many-legged animals control their locomotion?
  • April 10th - 3:30pm: Seminar by David S. K. Magnuson, Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, Louisville, KY. Conditional Silencing of Spinal Cord Interneurons: Hopping to a new tune.
  • April 8th - 12pm: Seminar by Catherine Von Reyn, PhD, Janella Research Campus, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Using Neuroengineering to Investigate Sensorimotor Transformations.
  • April 3rd - 3:30pm: PPG Meeting: Muscle spindles feedback directs locomotor recovery and circuit reorganization after spinal cord injury.
  • March 25th - 12pm: Seminar by Stephane Vinit, UFR des Sciences de la Sante, Universite de Versailles St Quentin en Yvelines, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France.
  • February 25th - 12pm: Seminar by Jeffrey C. Smith, Senior Investigator and Chief Cellular and Systems Neurobiology Section, NINDS, NIH, Bethesda, MD.
  • February 20th - 12pm: PPG Meeting: Discussion about using d-mannose as a prophylactic measure to prevent UTIs in transected rats.
  • February 13th - 12pm: PPG Meeting: Eugene Mironets will lead a discussion of the recent Nature paper from the Jerry Silver lab.
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    Fields of Interest


    Computational Neuroscience & Modelling




    Robotics & Brain-Computer Interface


    Core Facilities:
    - Behavioural Core
    - Surgical Core
    - Electrophysiology
    - Histology and Microscopy
    - Cell culture

    Research Team

    John Houle

    Center Director:

    John Houle


    Peter Baas  (Lab)
    Marie-Pascale Côté (Lab)
    Kimberly Dougherty
    Itzhak Fischer  (Lab)
    Simon Giszter  (Lab)
    John Houle  (Lab)
    Michael Lane  (Lab)
    Marion Murray  (Lab)
    Ramesh Ragupathi  (Lab)
    Ilya Rybak  (Lab)
    Veronica Tom  (Lab)

    Research Faculty:

    Theresa Connors
    Megan Detloff  (Lab)
    Tim Himes  (Lab)
    Shaoping Hou
    Ying Jin  (Lab)
    Vitaliy Marchenko
    Sergei Markin
    Natalia Shevtsova
    Jed Shumsky  (Lab)

    Affiliated Faculty:

    John Bethea
    Denise Garcia
    Michel Lemay
    Angelo Lepore
    Karen Moxon
    Scott Stackhouse
    Jeff Twiss



    Program Project Seminar Series

    Department Seminar Series

    Postdoctoral Fellows

    Graduate Students

    Student organized events

    The Neuroscience Graduate Program website

    The Philadelphia Chapter of SfN

    News Feed


    August 2015

    • Dr. Kimberly Dougherty was awarded an R01 titled: CRCNS: Rhythm generation in rodent spinal cord. (CRCNS is Collaborative research in computational neuroscience.) Natalia Shevtsova is a Co-Investigator (Co-PI) on this award.

    • Dr. Tatiana Bezdudnaya received notice this morning that she will be awarded a grant from Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN). This is a highly competitive grant, so excellent news for Tanya. image1.PNG

    June 2015

    • Dr. Michael Lane was awarded a Pilot Research Grant from the Neilson Foundation to study "Activity dependent respiratory plasticity following spinal cord injury" (Marie-Pascale and Vitaliy are Co-Is).

    Recent Papers

    • Oza CS and Giszter SF. (2015) Trunk robot rehabilitation training with active stepping reorganizes and enriches trunk motor cortex representations in spinal transected rats. J. Neuroscience, 2015 May 6th; 35(18): 7174-7189. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4366- 14.2015. 2.

    • Song W, Cajigas I, Brown EN and Giszter SF. (2015) Adaptation to elastic loads and BMI robot controls during rat locomotion examined with point-process GLMs. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 2015 April 28; 9: 1- 11. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2015.00062. 3.

    • Giszter SF. (2015) Motor primitives-new data and future questions. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 2015 Apr 21;33:156-165. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2015.04.004. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PMID: 25912883 4.

    • Giszter SF. (2015) Spinal primitives and intra-spinal micro-stimulation (ISMS) based prostheses: a neurobiological perspective on the "known unknowns" in ISMS and future prospects. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2015 Mar 20;9:72. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00072. eCollection 2015. Review. PMID: 25852454.

    Recent presentations and sessions organized

    • Neural Control of Movement Meeting Satellite- 2015 Topic: Neural underpinnings of rehabilitation from nervous system injury and disease. "Combining biological, bionic and rehabilitation interventions: finding the Goldilocks zones in rodent models of SCI".

    • Neural Control of Movement Meeting Main meeting panel session: "New methods of analysis of population data- relating neural dynamics and Sherrington reductionism".

    • Tech Breakfast, Philadelphia "Brain Braids, Braided neuroprosthetics"

    Lab member recent awards

    • John K Lee, ALCOA Lindau Graduate Student Award, to attend the 2014 Lindau Meeting.

    • John K Lee, Dean’s Fellowship for 'Excellence in Collaborative or Themed Research'.

    • David Logan, Ph.D., Brody Family Medical Trust Fund Fellowship in “Incurable Diseases”

    May 2015

    Link to WHYY and Pint of Science scientific research presentation by Dr. Michael Lane, Drexel University College of Medicine.

    • Dr Marie-Pascale Cote has been promoted to Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy. In this tenure-track position, Dr Cote will continue building her research team investigating the therapeutic effects of exercise following spinal cord injury.

    • Dr Kimberly Dougherty was awarded a grant from the Wings for Life Foundation to study “Plasticity of spinal rhythm generating interneurons after spinal cord injury and training”.


    • A recent review paper from Dr Dougherty highlights recent advances in our understanding of spinal locomotor control: McLean & Dougherty (2015) Peeling back the layers of locomotor control in the spinal cord, Curr Opin Neurobiol. 33:63-70

    Other papers released:

    • Molkov, Y. I., Bacak, B. J., Talpalar, A. E., and Rybak, I. A (2015) Mechanisms of left-right coordination in mammalian locomotor pattern generation circuits: a mathematical modeling view. PLoS Comput. Biol., 11: e1004270

    • Shevtsova, N. A., Talpalar, A. E., Markin, S. N., Harris-Warrick, R. M., Kiehn, O., and Rybak, I. A (2015) Organization of left-right coordination of neuronal activity in the mammalian spinal cord: insights from computational modelling. J. Physiol., Published on-line 27 MAR 2015; DOI: 10.1113/JP270121.

    • Large animal and primate models of spinal cord injury for the testing of novel therapies. Kwon BK, Streijger F, Hill CE, Anderson AJ, Bacon M, Beattie MS, Blesch A, Bradbury EJ, Brown A, Bresnahan JC, Case CC, Colburn RW, David S, Fawcett JW, Ferguson AR, Fischer I, Floyd CL, Gensel JC, Houle JD, Jakeman LB, Jeffery ND, Jones LA, Kleitman N, Kocsis J, Lu P, Magnuson DS, Marsala M, Moore SW, Mothe AJ, Oudega M, Plant GW, Rabchevsky AS, Schwab JM, Silver J, Steward O, Xu XM, Guest JD, Tetzlaff W. Exp Neurol. 2015 Apr 19;269:154-168. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2015.04.008. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25902036.

    • Exercise after spinal cord injury as an agent for neuroprotection, regeneration and rehabilitation. Sandrow-Feinberg HR, Houlé JD. Brain Res. 2015 Apr 9. pii: S0006-8993(15)00287-5. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2015.03.052. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PMID:25866284.

    • Spinal Interneurons and Forelimb Plasticity after Incomplete Cervical Spinal Cord Injury in Adult Rats. Gonzalez-Rothi EJ, Rombola AM, Rousseau CA, Mercier LM, Fitzpatrick GM, Reier PJ, Fuller DD, Lane MA. J Neurotrauma. 2015 May 5. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25625912.

    March 2015

    • Dr Simon Giszter has recently published: "Spinal primitives and intra-spinal micro-stimulation (ISMS) based prostheses: a neurobiological perspective on the "known unknowns" in ISMS and future prospects". Front Neurosci. 2015 Mar 20;9:72.

    January 2015

    • The Behavioural Core has purchased a Dynamic Plantar Aesthesiometer from Ugo Basile. This device is designed to assess touch sensitivity in experimental studies.

    • Dr Marie-Pascale Cote has received funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NIH, NINDS ) and the Craig H. Neilson Foundation to study chloride homeostasis and motor recovery after spinal cord injury and the effects of exercise.

    • Recently published studies by Drs Veronica Tom and Peter Baas have revealed that inhibition of kinesin-5 promotes axonal regeneration after SCI.

    December 2014

    • Drs Tatiana Bezdudnaya and Shaoping Hou received “Rising Star” awards from Dr Itzhak Fisher and the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy in recognition for their scientific achievements and their commitment to Drexel University and the Spinal Cord Research Center

    • Drs Megan Detloff and John Bethea received a Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE ) award to study the effects of exercise induced expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines following spinal cord injury. The goal of this project is to explore whether exercise prevents pain development after SCI.

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