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Investigation of Serotonergic Signaling Mechanisms that Promote Regeneration Following Spinal Cord Injury

Research Grant Recipient: Jacob Montgomery, PhD

Award Value: $250,000

Research Focus: Spinal Cord Injury

From the Investigator:

Spinal cord injury often leads to loss of function below the injury, greatly reducing patient life expectancy and quality and, because the human nervous system lacks the ability to effectively self-repair, even partial recovery of function below the injury is rare. Mammals possess endogenous neuronal progenitor cells with stem cell-like properties that, under the right conditions, can be induced to proliferate and differentiate into new neurons. Yet, mammals have a very low capacity for neuronal regeneration when compared to fish and amphibians, which are capable of rapid regeneration of a wide variety of tissues and structures. This proposal will exploit the superior regenerative capacity and unique experimental toolbox available in the larval zebrafish to examine the roles of serotonergic signaling in promoting regeneration and functional recovery from spinal cord injuries. The aims described in this proposal will be used as a basis for future work on the pathways and mechanisms that underlie recovery of function following spinal cord injury.