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Neurons and astrocytes

Changing the future of spinal cord injury

Jared Sydney-Smith

Jared started his PhD, funded by Spinal Research, in autumn 2017. He is studying under Dr Lawrence Moon, Reader in Neuroscience at King’s College London. After obtaining a first-class honours degree in Biomedicine from University of East Anglia, Jared studied for his MSc in Neuroscience at King’s. He accomplished this whilst working full time.

His PhD will investigate improving grasping and reducing spasticity after spinal cord injury with Neurotrophin-3 delivery. Neurotrophin 3 is a protein growth factor which has activity on certain neurons in the peripheral and central nervous system.

After spinal cord injury, many people suffer muscle spasms – spasticity – which interferes with their ability to use or move their arms and legs. This research will look at how the protein can reduce the spasms and help with movement and grasping.

PhD student Jared

The funding from Spinal Research lets me master loads of exciting techniques that are routinely used in both basic and translational neural repair research.

Jared, and the benefits of our grantHand icon

Why neuroscience research in spinal cord injury is important to Jared

“While studying for my MSc, I worked in the NHS where I interacted daily with clinicians and patients. Despite healthcare rapidly advancing, the idea of spinal cord injury was always met with dread, clinicians worried about irreparable damage and patients feared lifelong paralysis whenever it was suspected.

My lectures challenged this idea and highlighted the rapid progress of research into restoring function or regenerating the spinal cord. My project can hopefully add to this growing effort by looking at alleviating a major deficit common in patients with upper spinal cord injury in a way that may be translated to the clinic.”