Nathalie Rose Barr Award
We aim to encourage high-quality research into regeneration and repair in the injured spinal cord by fostering a new generation of dedicated scientists and clinicians. We are focused on ensuring that we have the necessary breadth of skills and experience to develop treatments for spinal cord injury.
Our Nathalie Rose Barr postgraduate PhD awards were set up as the result of a generous legacy in 1996. The three-year grants are aimed at encouraging the development of talented, highly-motivated young scientists in the field of spinal cord repair, in both clinical and basic science research environments.
We have funded over 40 student awards under this grant. Here are the two latest awards.
Improving hand function via a wearable electronic device
Newcastle University in collaboration with University of Miami (The Miami Project)
Improving hand function is a key priority for people with a spinal cord injury that affects their upper limbs. This research will continue the development of a new wearable and portable device that uses audible clicks in combination with electrical stimulus to excite the reticulospinal tract in the spinal cord.
Once the device is modified to maximum effect, for stimulating motor function in the hand, the team will measure and analyse changes in the nerve cells and hand function during and after, the stimulation activity.
Oral administration of novel plasticity enhancer in chronic spinal cord injury
University of Leeds
In previous laboratory research, a small molecule called ‘PNNi’, already licensed for medical use, has been shown to reduce the growth inhibiting activity of perineuronal nets (PNN) in a normal spinal cord and, if given shortly after trauma, in acute spinal cord injury.
Researchers at Leeds University will now test if the oral administration of PNNi in an animal model is effective in
- decreasing PNN inhibitory activity
- enhancing axon sprouting
in chronic spinal cord injury when used alongside rehabilitation exercise to increase functional recovery.
These three-year awards encourage the development of talented and highly-motivated young scientists in the field of spinal cord repair, in both clinical and basic science research environments.
The PhD degree must be awarded from a UK university and a high priority is given to collaborative proposals between more than one laboratory or institution. The PhD student is recruited to a team that is already established in the field of spinal cord injury research, where they will receive an excellent quality of training and support.
As well as obligations within their own institution, all students are encouraged to attend and present their data at our own Network Meeting in September each year, and at other research conferences.