Notre Dame researcher receives grant to study spinal cord injuries

Author: Brandi Klingerman


The Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) has awarded Cody J. Smith, the Elizabeth and Michael Gallagher Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and affiliated member of the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, a Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Fund (SCBIRF) grant. The aim of Smith’s work will be to understand the limiting factors of sensory nerve regeneration in spinal cord injuries with the goal of improving regeneration capacity in certain nerves.

In discussing the SCBIRF grant, Smith said, “There are two types of nerves that can be damaged during a traumatic spinal cord injury, nerves in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and in the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). Most nerves in the PNS can regenerate themselves after injury, while nerves in the CNS cannot, but little is known as to why. With this funding I am planning to investigate why nerves have differing regeneration capabilities and how this information could change the way we treat spinal cord injuries.”

Cody Smith 9859Professor Cody J. Smith

Smith also plans to use the grant to investigate the role of glia – a group of cells that can clear neuronal debris after damage – during the clearance of sensory nerves. By doing so, the research could potentially lead to the identification of therapies that aid the regrowth of sensory nerves into the CNS

The SCBIRF program was created to foster and encourage research for the prevention, treatment, and cure of spinal cord and brain injuries, including acute management, medical complications, rehabilitative techniques, and neuronal recovery. The grant program is managed and reviewed by the Indiana CTSI, which is a statewide collaboration between Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame, as well as public and private partnerships, The mission of the Indiana CTSI is to strengthen and support the entire spectrum of translational research from scientific discovery to improved patient care. 

For more information on the Indiana CTSI, including funding opportunities, please visit

Originally published by Brandi Klingerman at on May 03, 2017.