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Director's Welcome

The Center for Neuroscience and Regeneration Research is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to molecular and cell-based discoveries toward restoration and preservation of nervous system function. It is a symbol of inter-institutional cooperation that was founded upon the strengths of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Spinal Association, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Yale University School of Medicine, toward a common mission. Designated as the Center for Restoration of Nervous System Function by the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development service in 1999, its mission is to harness the “genomic revolution” to generate effective treatments for people with nervous system injuries 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 30,000 times according to Citation Index. In addition, our 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. Our 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 accolades, organize and chair scientific workshops and symposia, and lecture world-wide.

We place a high priority on training the next generation of investigators and aim to help each trainee 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), Chuanju Liu (Professor of Cell Biology, Orthopedics, and Surgery, NYU School of Medicine), and Tanya Fischer (Director of Global Clinical Trials, Sanofi).

Stephen G. Waxman, MD, PhD