Pioneering Rehabilitation

Dr. Willis and Dr. Carmel Awarded Grants from the New York State Department of Health

Published September 3, 2015

Burke Medical Research Institute laboratories led by Dr. Willis and Dr. Carmel are two of nine research teams across the state of New York recently awarded grant funding for the development of treatments and cures for various forms and effects of spinal cord injuries. On August 3, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $5.7 million in awards to help researchers advance scientific discoveries in the areas of rehabilitation, cellular regeneration and therapeutics.

New York State Department Grants

Dianna Willis, Ph.D., director of pain research, received $448,978 to investigate “Alterations in Extracellular Vesicle Communication as a Cause of Neuromuscular Junction Dysfunction after Spinal Cord Injury.” Jason Carmel, M.D., Ph.D., director of motor recovery laboratory and director of early brain injury recovery program, received $450,419 to conduct research on “Delayed Versus Immediate Motor Training Following Brain Stimulation to Enhance Recovery in Rats with Chronic Corticospinal Tract Injury.” These competitive awards are the first round of funding since the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research program (SCIRB) was re-instated in 2013 by the New Your State Department of Health.

Each year, approximately 1,000 New York residents suffer from traumatic spinal cord injuries. Most spinal cord injuries are caused by a motor vehicle accident, fall, sports injury or an act of violence resulting in significant disabilities such as quadriplegia, loss of motor control, sensation and function in the body and limbs, loss of bowel and bladder control, and chronic pain. “New York is home to some of the brightest researchers in spinal cord injury and with this funding, we’re accelerating the pace of their work,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “We are proud to have the largest dedicated spinal cord injury research funding program in the nation. It enables us to continue fighting to reduce the personal and economic tolls that these injuries inflict.” Learn more about the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research program (SCIRB).