Laboratory research in the basic sciences related to spinal cord injury or disease.

Yuanyuan Liu PhD
Children’s Hospital at Boston
Boston, MA

A key pathology following spinal cord injury (SCI) is the permanent local breakdown of
descending axons that connect the brain and spinal cord. A promising repair strategy
would be to promote the regrowth of those descending axons across the injury. In a
previous study, we demonstrated that virus-mediated expression of osteopontin and
insulin like growth factor (IGF1) promoted the regrowth of brain derived corticospinal
tract (CST) axons, and functional recovery of CST-dependent motor function following
an incomplete SCI lesion. Here, we will use a blood brain barrier-penetrating virus vector
to overexpress osteopontin and IGF1 in most neurons and assess its effects on
anatomical and behavioral outcomes aside from the CST. In addition, we will test if more
translatable delivery of recombinant osteopontin and IGF1 proteins using multifunctional
fibers can achieve similar restoration after SCI. Our proposed experiments would generate
highly translatable results for designing repair strategies for SCI patients.