spinal column stock image

Associate Professor Andrew Spence recently secured a $1.98 million R01 award from the National Institutes of Health to continue study of spinal cord injury (SCI). This is the sixth R01 award in two years associated with a faculty member at Temple College of Engineering, and fourth where the faculty member is the lead PI.

Dr. Spence's proposal seeks a deeper understanding of recent work demonstrating that epidural stimulation paired with treadmill training can enhance standing, stepping, and volitional control in humans and animal models of spinal cord injury.

"It's critically important to understand the mechanisms by which afferent stimulation drives motor improvement," Dr. Spence said. "Tools that can identify which afferents are necessary and sufficient to enhance recovery, and that can facilitate characterization of the helpful neural plasticity, are urgently needed. Our long-term goal is to develop approaches for selective afferent modulation, and apply them to the dissection of the mechanisms underlying recovery from SCI."

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, as many as 450,000 people in the United States are living with some form of spinal cord injury.

"We are proud of Dr. Spence's progress in Locomotor Neuromechanics and spinal cord injury research," added Dr. Keya Sadeghipour, Dean of the College of Engineering. "This latest NIH R01 award is a testament to his perseverance and creativity, as well as the continued growth of the Bioengineering Department, and the College of Engineering's research impact."

The award will provide funding for research on the topic through 2025. Visit here to learn more about Dr. Spence and his related research.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01NS114007. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.