Groundbreaking Research Opportunities
The research opportunities through Penn Neurosurgery and the University of Pennsylvania are substantial. The University of Pennsylvania is ranked second nationally in National Institutes of health (NIH) funding. Penn Neurosurgery receives more than $3 million annually in NIH support in addition to other external grant sources.
Research efforts include the renowned Center for Brain Injury and Repair as well as the Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery and the Neurosurgery Clinical Research Division. Individual efforts cover neuro-oncology, stroke, peripheral nerve, spinal cord injury and cranial base surgery. Funded research opportunities at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia include projects in molecular neuro-oncology, fetal surgery and biomechanics of head injury.
The Neurosurgery Sharpe Spinal Biomechanics Laboratory is housed at Pennsylvania Hospital. Its research focus centers on quantifying the kinematics of the cervical spine and cervicothoracic junction. The lab is operated under the direction of Beth Winkelstein, PhD, in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Spine Pain Research Laboratory.
Primary interests of the Smith Neurotrauma Laboratory include mechanisms of brain trauma and the progressive degenerative damage that occurs. Specific concentration is given to the fate of axons, nerve fibers in the brain that appear exquisitely vulnerable to trauma. Attention is also given to spinal cord and peripheral nerve injuries, specifically the repair strategies and development of novel mechanisms of 'stretch-induced' axon growth that can be exploited to produce transplant materials to bridge extensive damage in the nervous system.
The Siman Laboratory studies the intraneuronal mechanisms underlying acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders, and develops non-invasive surrogate markers for detecting distinct modes of neurodegeneration in the brains of living organisms.
The Watson Laboratory research centers on understanding mechanisms that underlie traumatic brain injury and the development of potential therapeutic treatment strategies. They are currently elucidating mechanisms by which neurotrophins protect hippocampal neurons after traumatic brain injury. The lab is also studying the effect of pre-injury exercise on recovery from traumatic brain injury.
The Resnick and Storm Laboratories at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia focus on defining the molecular mechanisms underlying pediatric brain tumors. These labs center their efforts on the characterization of the genetic abnormalities defining pediatric tumors, the development of model systems recapitulating the disease process and cell signaling alterations, and ultimately on defining and testing targeted therapies. Their efforts comprise a translational paradigm built on an interdisciplinary approach in collaboration with the divisions of neuro-oncology and pathology.