Spinal cord injury is a devastating and life-altering event that often results in incurable paralysis. Dr. Murray Blackmore leads a team of researchers dedicated to discovering ways to heal the injured spinal cord. The central idea of the work is to activate cellular programs that lead to regeneration and repair of injured nerve fibers. These genetic programs are active in embryos while the nervous system is being constructed, but then go dormant in the adult. Using gene therapy vectors, the Blackmore lab is developing tools to reactivate these growth programs and to drive the growth of nerve fibers across sites of spinal injury. To fuel the search for improved genetic treatments, Dr. Blackmore has secured three grants from the National Institutes of Health over the past year, including the most recently one, a $1.9 million five-year grant. Blackmore’s work aims to break new ground and eventually create new therapeutic options for patients afflicted with spinal injuries.

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