The Neurobiology Research Laboratory (NBRL) of the Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology (Toxicology and Therapeutics), University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), was established at the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, now part of the Heartland Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN15), in 1976. Barry W. Festoff, M.D., the founding Director, NBRL, is Professor of Neurology and Pharmacology, KUMC. For almost thirty years, the NBRL has pursued approaches equally divided between clinical neurology and neurobiology in a research and academic environment. The guiding theme, or thread, of the research studies of the NBRL is that development, plasticity after injury, and disease of the nervous system all involve similar mechanisms in a relatively simple repertoire of means with which this system can react.
Recent estimates are that in the United States alone approximately 400,000 people live with some form of SCI or disorder that significantly affects their life activities. About 12,000 more sustain these injuries each year. Spinal cord injury result in loss of motor function which is associated with secondary cell death of neurons. Motor neurons undergo a programmed cell death termed apoptosis which peaks within three days after the injury. Our goal is to find a way to inhibit this cell death process and enable to improve post-injury recovery.