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Delivering neurotrophic growth factors to stimulate and orient axonal outgrowth

54 months
Approved budget:
Associate Professor Darren Svirskis
Health issue:
Neurological (CNS)
Proposal type:
Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship
Lay summary
I am a drug delivery scientist working with active materials at the biointerface. My vision is to be an international expert and research leader in the rational delivery of bioactives to direct and influence cell behaviour. The research objectives focus on manipulating nature’s repair mechanisms to reconnect damaged neurons and improve outcomes for spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injury is devastating, with no treatments currently available. In this program of work, we will use in-vitro neuronal cultures, injured via mechanical forces, as relevant models of spinal cord injury. We will determine how nerve growth factors (NF) stimulate axonal outgrowth in these cultures, and identify optimal concentration gradient parameters of NF to guide outgrowth. We will then design and prepare novel delivery platforms to release NF as and when required, used ultimately to achieve concentration gradients in-vivo to recover both sensory and motor functions following spinal cord injury.