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Injury to the spinal cord interrupts input to and from the brain. Because adult central nervous system axons fail to fully regenerate following injury, severed axons are permanently disconnected from their target neurons. This results in deficits in voluntary motor function (e.g., walking), involuntary motor function (e.g., diaphragmatic activity for respiration), autonomic function (e.g., cardiovascular regulation, bladder function) and sensation.

The research mission of the lab is to develop strategies to promote recovery of these affected behaviors after acute and chronic spinal cord injury.

We are focused on two general research projects:

  • Enhancing axon regeneration
  • Mitigating autonomic dysfunction after spinal cord injury

Our highly collaborative research involves a multitude of techniques, including survival surgery, cell transplantation, gene manipulation, cell culture, assessment of cardiovascular function, and tests to gauge locomotor and sensory function.

Please visit the external lab website ( to learn more about the lab.

Related Publications

"Dopamine is produced in the rat spinal cord and regulates micturition reflex after spinal cord injury"
Hou S, Carson DM, Wu D, Klaw MC, Houle JD, Tom VJ
Exp. Neurol., 285:136-146 (2016)

"Expressing constitutively active Rheb in adult dorsal root ganglion neurons enhances the integration of sensory axons that regenerate across a chondroitinase-treated dorsal root entry zone following dorsal root crush"
Wu D, Klaw MC, Kholodilov N, Burke RE, Detloff MR, Cote MP, Tom VJ
Front. Mol. Neurosci., 9:49 (2016)

"Local delivery of minocycline from metal ion-assisted self-assembled complexes promotes neuroprotection and functional recovery after spinal cord injury"
Wang Z, Nong J, Shultz RB, Zhang Z, Kim T, Tom VJ, Ponnappan RK, Zhong Y
Biomaterials, 1112:62-71 (2016)

"Report of the National Eye Institute Audacious Goals Initiative: Regenerating the Optic Nerve"
Goldberg JL, Guido W, Tom V and the AGI Workshop Participants
Invest. Opthalmol. Vis. Sci., 57:1271-1275 (2016)

"Cardiovascular dysfunction following spinal cord injury"
Partida E, Mironets E, Hou S, Tom VJ
Neural Regen. Res., 11:189-194 (2016)

"Manipulating extrinsic and intrinsic obstacles to axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury"
Mironets E, Wu D, Tom VJ
Neural Regen. Res., 11:224-225 (2016)

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Veronica J. Tom, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy

Veronica J. Tom, PhD
Associate Professor