Director's Welcome

The Center for Neuroscience and Regeneration Research is a state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to molecular and cell-based discoveries toward restoration and protection of nervous system function. It is a symbol of inter-institutional cooperation that brings together the strengths of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Spinal Association, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Yale University School of Medicine, all working together toward a common goal. Designated as a Center of Excellence on Restoration of Nervous System Function by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Rehabilitation Research and Development service our mission is to harness the “genomic revolution” and generate effective strategies that will restore and preserve function in people with nervous system injury and disease.

Our Center has to its credit, over 500 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Nature Neuroscience, Nature Medicine, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Annals of Neurology, PNAS, and Journal of Neuroscience. These articles have been cited over 25,000 times according to Citation Index. In addition, Center staff have authored or edited more than half a dozen books including Spinal Cord Compression, the definitive work on the subject; Diseases of the Spine and Spinal Cord, and The Axon. We are currently engaged in major collaborations with investigators in England, Germany, The Netherlands, China, and Japan.

Our multidisciplinary team of scientists includes molecular cell biologists, physiologists, pharmacologists, stem cell biologists, computational neuroscientists, and clinicians who collaborate closely and move back and forth between the laboratory and the clinic as they conduct rigorous investigations in experimental models and human disease. Open doors and teamwork are the rule. The team includes PhD and MD-PhD students, and other trainees who are preparing to become the next-generation researchers of CNS plasticity and recovery of function in SCI, MS and related disorders. Our scientists have received numerous awards and accolades; organize and chair scientific workshops and symposia, and frequently lecture world-wide.

We place a high priority on the training of the next generation of investigators and aim to help each trainee to reach his/her full professional potential.   Many of our trainees opt to remain within our Research Center for protracted periods and, pending availability of funding and good progress in the laboratory, we do our best to make this happen.  We act as advocates and career counselors for other trainees who opt to develop independent laboratories.  Our former trainees include Robert Malenka (Pritzker Professor, Stanford University), Harald Sontheimer (Professor, University of Alabama), Peter Stys (LeBlanc Professor of Spinal Cord Research, University of Calgary), Robert Fern (Professor of Physiology, Plymouth School of Medicine, UK), Theodore Cummins (Professor and Interim Chair of Pharmacology, University of Indiana), Angelika Lampert (PD Physiology, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen), Matthew Craner (Director, Translational Research Progam, Oxford University), and Tanya Fischer (Director of Global Clinical Trials, Sanofi).

Stephen G. Waxman, MD, PhD