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$4.27m grant boosts expert John Martin’s spinal cord injury research

John Martin_Science
CCNY medical professor John Martin has received a $4.27m grant for research on spinal cord injuries.

For people with cervical spinal cord injuries, regaining hand function is the highest priority. Currently there are no effective treatments for people living with paralysis or profound weakness after SCI. A new $4.27 million grant to John Martin, medical professor at the CUNY School of Medicine at The City College of New York, from the New York State Department of Health is aimed at boosting research.

Martin’s research thrust includes brain development and the recovery of movement function after brain or spinal injury. The grant brings his research awards since October 2013 to $7.97 million.

The goal of Martin’s latest project is to translate a promising therapy for improving arm and hand function after cervical spinal cord injury from animal models to humans. The approach uses combined brain and spinal cord stimulation to promote repair of residual nerve circuits to hand muscles.

It involves a special pattern of brain stimulation that has been shown to strongly activate the corticospinal tract, the most important nerve circuit for hand control, and strengthen its circuit connections. The brain stimulation is combined with a small electrical current over the neck that has been shown in animals to further strengthen connections and improve function after injury.

Martin’s collaborators include Marom Bikson and Luis Cardoso in the Biomedical Engineering Department in the Grove School of Engineering, Jason Carmel at the Burke Medical Research Institute and Noam Harel of the James J. Peters VA Medical Center and the Mt. Sinai Medical School.  

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; School of Education; Grove School of Engineering; Sophie Davis Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine, and Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.



Jay Mwamba

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