Changing the future of spinal cord injury
Louise completed her Nathalie Rose Barr funded PhD at Queen Mary University of London in 2017.
Prior to her PhD, Louise gained an MSc Neuroscience at University of Manchester and a BMedSc Neuroscience (Hons) from University of Birmingham.
PhD Research Outcomes
The aim was to test whether high levels of PSA could influence outcome after spinal cord injury. PSA levels above and below the injury site were increased using viral vectors to deliver a gene for PSA. As expected, high levels of PSA were confirmed in treated animals using standard techniques. Treated animals showed signs of increased sprouting of axons above the injury (as measured by the density of 5-HT axons) as well as an increase in the number of connections above and below injury site. Functionally, the treated group performed better in tests of hind limb activity, interestingly not in tests for fore limb function.
At this stage the group have looked at gross changes in the density of sprouting and synapses and further analysis is warranted.
Furthermore, the functional improvements seen have been achieved in the absence of rehabilitation which is known to significantly enhance outcomes after plasticity-inducing treatments such as this. This will form the basis of further studies.