Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition currently without a cure. Over half of all traumatic SCI occurs at the cervical level (C1 to C7-T1). Patients with cervical injuries suffer the most devastating neurological impairments, have the highest mortality rates, and are burdened with increased health care costs. One of the main hurdles in regenerative therapy for SCI is the very low intrinsic ability of the nervous system to repair itself. The promise of neural stem cell transplantation lies in its ability to replace neurons and glia lost due to traumatic injury. We have previously established that the transplantation of stem cells represents a promising therapeutic strategy for cSCI. Builing on this finding we have established human derived induced pluripotent stem cell neural progenitor cells (hiPSC-NPCs) for the treatment of SCI. However, there remain critical shortfalls in this technology that limit the efficacious application to human cervical SCI. These limitations include: a) the lack of NPCs displaying a regional identity; b) the poor survival of NPCs post-transplantion, and c) the inhibitory micro-environment of the injured spinal cord. Building on our previous work we propose to generate stem cells expressing a regional identity and engineered to modify the injury micro-environment thus promoting survival, integration and regeneration.
To work independently, prepare and stain tissues, undertake behavioural experiments and analysis.
Wet lab experience is preferred. GPA 3.70 or higher.
Professor, Department of Surgery
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