PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
July 9, 2013

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Christie Administration Awards $2.9 Million in Grants for Spinal Cord Research

The New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research has awarded more than $2.9 million in grants to fund the development of treatments and cures for paralysis and other spinal cord related diseases and injuries.

"These grant funds will support and incentivize research and development opportunities in New Jersey with the goal of improving the lives of people suffering from paralysis due to disease or injury," said New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "By continuing our support of this research, there will be great advancements in medical science that may one day lead to a cure for people with these debilitating conditions."

Approximately 6,000 New Jersey residents suffer from traumatic injuries or diseases that damage the spinal cord and approximately 250 residents suffer spinal cord injuries that require hospitalization each year.

Nationally, the number of people living with spinal cord injuries totals approximately 1,275,000 with the costs of these injuries estimated at $40.5 billion.

The Commission was created with the mission to stimulate spinal cord research in New Jersey and recruit new scientists to the field through the funding of research projects and fellowships at qualifying institutions throughout the state. Since 1999, the Commission has awarded more than $38. 9 million in awards for research into spinal cord related disease and injuries.  In 2013, thirty-six applications were submitted with requests for funding totaling nearly $10.2 million.

A wide range of grant opportunities are offered, including: Individual Research Grants; Post-doctoral and Graduate Fellowships; Exploratory Research Grants and Spinal Cord Techniques Training Travel Grants.

The 2012 New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research Annual Report is available at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/spinalcord/documents/2012_annual_report.pdf

Complete information on the grant recipient projects and funding is available at: http://nj.gov/health/spinalcord/documents/2013_grant_directory.pdf

The following is a complete list of all Fiscal Year 2013 recipients:
Gail Forrest, Ph.D.
Kessler Foundation
Grant Award:  $574,976
Project Title:  Non-Ambulatory SCI Walk Using a Robotic Exoskeleton: Effect on Bone and Muscle

Nancy Chiaravalloti, Ph.D.
Kessler Foundation
Grant Award:  $596,152
Project Title:  Impact of Age on Cardiovascular, Cerebrovascular and Cognitive Health in Spinal Cord Injury

Yi Ren, Ph.D.
Rutgers, The State University of NJ
W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience
Grant Award:  $592,568
Project Title:  Myelin Debris-derived Lipid Accumulation Modulates the Function of Macrophages in Spinal Cord Injury

Michael Matise, Ph.D.
UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology
Grant Award:  $600,000
Project Title:  The Role of the Shh in Mediating the Response of Adult Spinal Cord Stem Cells to Injury

Stephanie Pyonteck, Ph.D.
Rutgers, The State University of NJ
Waksman Institute - Department of Genetics
Grant Award:  $150,000
Project Title:  The Regulation of Neuronal Mitochondrial Fusion by the Hypoxia Response Pathway Affects Functional Recovery and Survival Following Anoxic Stress  

Megan Damcott, Ph.D.
Kessler Foundation
Grant Award:  $50,000
Project Title:  Quantitative Measure of Force During Electrical Stimulation: An Exploratory Study

KiBum Lee, Ph.D.
Rutgers, The State University of NJ
Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Grant Award:  $200,000
Project Title:  Enhanced Stem Cell Based Gene Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury Using Novel Magnetic Coreshell Nanoparticles

Prabhas V. Moghe, Ph.D.
Rutgers, The State University of NJ
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Grant Award:  $200,000
Project Title:  Engineering Reprogrammed Neurons on Transplantable Scaffolds for Management of Spinal Cord Injury

Stephen Kelly, Ph.D.
NJ Neuroscience Institute at JFK Medical Center
Grant Award:  $950 for expenses to attend at a training course on spinal cord research at Rutgers University.

To apply for future research grants, access grant applications, find out application deadlines, and to obtain additional information on the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research, visit the website at www.state.nj.us/health/spinalcord.   For telephone inquiries, please call 609-292-4055.