ISSN: 2165-7939

Journal of Spine
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Joe E. Springer
Joe E. Springer Joe E. Springer
Professor and Vice Chair for Research
Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center
University of Kentucky

Dr. Springer had completed a F32 funded postdoctoral fellowship in 1988 at the University of Rochester and joined the Department of Neurology at Hahnemann University as an Assistant Professor and was then promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1992. During this time, my research focused on events controlling the regulation of neurotrophic factor gene expression in the central nervous system and how this might be related to certain neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s Disease and ALS. In 1995, I joined the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Kentucky and changed my research focus to the study of secondary injury following spinal cord injury (SCI). I currently hold the position of Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation where my role is to promote translational research and collaborative opportunities between the University of Kentucky and Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. I have served on the editorial board of several journals and have been a member of a number of NIH study sections. My lab was the first to demonstrate and characterize the potential efficacy of riluzole as a treatment for acute SCI. A multi-center clinical trial is currently underway. We then began studies to understand cell death mechanisms and, applying research discoveries from the immune system literature, were able to identify part of the signaling pathways contributing to caspase-3 activation after SCI. We extended our studies to include the role of mitochondria as mediators of cell death signaling as well as a source of free radical production. Our current studies include examination of inhibitors of the mitochondrial permeability transition state and mitochondrial-targeted free radical scavengers as methods to reduce ongoing secondary injury and promote functional recovery.


Research Interest

CNS trauma, cell death mechanisms, mitochondrial function, treatment strategies in CNS trauma, recovery of function following CNS damage.



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