Spinal cord research symposium features internationally recognized experts from North America and Great Britain

    25th Annual Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust Symposium
    25th Annual Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust Symposium

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More than a dozen internationally recognized scientists from across North America and Great Britain working at the forefront of cell and molecular biology of development and disease are scheduled to speak in Louisville at the 25th Annual Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust Symposium, May 15-16, 2019. The two-day program will cover the most recent directions and conceptual advances in spinal cord injury research.

    Ian Wickersham, Ph.D., of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will deliver the keynote presentation on re-engineering the rabies virus. In his Ph.D. work, Wickersham and his colleagues introduced the use of recombinant rabies virus as a tool for neuroscience and originated the paradigm of monosynaptic tracing, meaning the use of a genetically modified viral vector to identify neurons directly connected to a targeted neuronal population. Wickersham joined MIT in 2007 and started the Genetic Neuroengineering Group there in 2013.

    Extensive time for poster sessions will allow participating trainees to highlight their research and foster new collaborations among senior scientific colleagues.

    The symposium is sponsored by the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust, The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, The University of Louisville School of Medicine and the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center. The annual event is hosted in alternating years by UofL and the University of Kentucky. The 2019 event will be held at the Louisville Downtown Embassy Suites Hotel.

    Symposium registration fees, including breakfast, lunch and reception for all attendees:

    • Professional or Faculty: $275
    • Postdocs, Residents, Staff, Community Members: $155
    • Students: $90

    To register:  http://bit.ly/KSCHIRT25

    Rooms are available at the Louisville Downtown Embassy Suites for the special symposium rate of $159/night plus tax. Room reservations may be made by calling 1‐502‐813‐3800 and referencing the 25th KSCHIRT Symposium. The deadline for hotel reservations at the symposium rate is April 16.


    Preliminary program:

    Wednesday, May 15, 2019

    Opening Remarks – Scott R. Whittemore, Ph.D., Director, Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville

    Introduction of Keynote Speaker – Brandon Brown, M.S., UofL

    “Re-engineering rabies virus” – Ian Wickersham, Ph.D. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology


    Session One: Big Data Approaches to Big Questions

    Chair: Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Ph.D., UofL

    “Integrating mechanistic molecular insight with large-scale genomics:  Path toward personalized therapeutics” – Wolfgang Sadee, Dr.rer.nat. – The Ohio State University

    “Accelerating reproducibility and clinical translation through data science: A brief history of data sharing, machine learning and discovery in neurotrauma” – Adam Ferguson, Ph.D. – University of California, San Francisco


    Session Two: Novel Approaches For Investigating Bladder And Bowel Dysfunction

    Chairs: Charles Hubscher, Ph.D., April Herrity, DC, Ph.D. and Teresa Pitts, Ph.D.

    “Neurogenic bowel at the enteric-smooth muscle interface” – Gregory Holmes, Ph.D. – Penn State University

    “Opportunities for closed-loop neuromodulation to improve bladder control” – Dennis Bourbeau, Ph.D. – Case Western Reserve University and Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center


    Session Three: Mechanisms of Systemic Disease In Neuroscience

    Chairs: Michal Hetman, M.D., Ph.D. and Sujata Saraswat Ohri, Ph.D.

    “Spinal cord injury-induced immunodeficiency is mediated by a sympathetic-neuroendocrine adrenal reflex” – Jan Schwab. M.D., Ph.D. – The Ohio State University

    “Modulating the mitochondrial electron transport chain protects against trauma-induced neurodegeneration: What can a worm teach us about brain injury?” – Peter Douglas, Ph.D. – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    “Circadian influences on neurodegeneration” – Eric Musiek, M.D., Ph.D. – Washington University School of Medicine


    Session Four: From Motor Units To Rehabilitation

    Chairs: David Rouffet, Ph.D. and Jessica D’Amico, Ph.D.

    “The arms give the legs a helping hand in locomotor rehabilitation” – Gregory Pearcey, Ph.D. Candidate, M.Sc., Bkin, CSEP-CEP – University of Victoria

    “Man-machine interfacing by decoding spinal motor neuron behavior” – Dario Farina, Ph.D. – Imperial College, London

    “Use of robots and optimal control theory to study sensorimotor function and dysfunction” – Stephen Scott, Ph.D. – Queen’s University


    Thursday, May 16, 2019

    Session Five: Emerging Topics

    Chair: James Shaughnessy, D.M.D., Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust

    University of Louisville and University of Kentucky Trainees


    Session Six: Novel Techniques Driving Novel Neuroscience

    Chair: Scott R. Whittemore, Ph.D.

    “Light-sheet microscopy in CNS injury and neuroregeneration” – Pantelis Tsoulfas, M.D. – University of Miami

    “The mechanical regulations of neuronal growth and regeneration” – Kristian Franze, Ph.D. – University of Cambridge

    “3-D Printed neural regeneration devices” – Michael McAlpine, Ph.D. – University of Minnesota


    Session Seven: Developmental Plasticity: From Pediatrics to Adults

    Chairs: Andrea Behrman, Ph.D. and David Magnuson, Ph.D.

    “Early, intensive leg training to enhance gross motor function in children with perinatal brain injury” – Jaynie Yang, PT, Ph.D. – University of Alberta, Edmonton

    “Optimizing motor recovery for children and adults with cerebral palsy” – Kathleen Friel, Ph.D. – Cornell University Medical College

    “New advances into the diencephalic control of locomotion” – Patrick Whelan, Ph.D. – University of Calgary



    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.