Basic Science Mentor
Anne and Oscar Lackner Professor & Eminent Scholar
Department of Neuroscience
College of Medicine
Paul J. Reier, PhD, is the Anne and Oscar Lackner Professor & Eminent Scholar in the Department of Neuroscience. He is a world renowned expert in spinal cord injury. He has pioneered the field of central and peripheral nervous system regeneration. He has shown that intraspinal transplants of fetal spinal cord tissue can undergo extensive differentiation and survive for long post-graft intervals even in lesions resembling those seen in cases of human spinal cord trauma. He uses a variety of neuroanatomical methods and magnetic resonance imaging techniques to assess the cellular composition of these grafts, their ability to integrate with the host spinal cord, and the axonal interactions established between host and donor tissues in both acute and chronic lesions of the rat and cat spinal cord. He also studies the ability of intraspinal grafts to reduce functional deficits associated with spinal cord damage using behavioral and electrophysiological approaches. Other research in Dr. Reier’s lab involves the introduction of molecular approaches whereby genes that might play important roles in regeneration are either introduced into cells of the injured nervous system or donor tissue constituents. Experiments also are being performed to define alternative sources of tissue for transplantation. Dr. Reier is funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and serves as a member of the NMPT Internal Steering Committee.