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Working toward improved outcome following spinal cord injury

With a primary focus on pre-clinical research, our long-term goal is to develop strategies for improving functional outcome after cervical spinal cord injury (SCI).

Our research is exploring the consequences of cervical spinal cord injury and the potential for spontaneous improvement in function (plasticity), and aims to develop treatments to improve recovery.

Our ongoing research is supported by the Spinal Cord Research Center at Drexel University and the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS, NIH).

Learn more about Lane Lab: Spinal Cord Research Laboratory.

Drexel Spinal Cord Research Center National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS, NIH)


Spinal Cord Injury & Plasticity

Our research team is investigating the effects of cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) and how recovery can be optimized. A primary focus of this work on the functional consequences of cervical SCI (in particular how breathing and upper extremity [arm] function is impaired) and what potential there is for progressive, spontaneous functional recovery—or functional "plasticity." We are also developing and testing strategies for promoting beneficial plasticity and recovery following cervical SCI.

Learn more about Spinal Cord Injury & Plasticity research.

Breathing After Injury

Our research team is studying how breathing—and activity in respiratory muscles—is affected by cervical SCI, exploring the potential for spontaneous neuroplasticity, and trying to identify therapeutic strategies capable of promoting improvement in respiratory function.

Learn more about Breathing After Injury research.

Developing Treatment Strategies

Our research program is exploring two key therapeutic strategies: 1) cell transplantation for repair, and 2) activity-based therapy for promoting plasticity. The first approach builds on more than 30 years of research in a wide range of SCI, and other neurological disorders. Our research is now assessing whether transplantation of neural precursor cells can repair respiratory pathways after cervical SCI and promote recovery of respiratory function. Using the latest in cellular engineering strategies, we are also now optimizing the cells used for transplantation. Our primary focus is on promoting recovery of phrenic motor function—as the diaphragm is an essential component of breathing. Our second treatment uses respiratory training not only to strengthen respiratory muscles following spinal cord injury, but also the neural networks mediating their function.

Learn more about Developing Treatment Strategies research.

In the Media

A Conversation with Dr. Michael Lane

Unite to Fight Paralysis interviews Dr. Lane about his career path to studying spinal cord injury and his ongoing research that aims to improve breathing function after injury.

Lab-Grown Neurons Improve Breathing in Rats After Spinal Cord Injury

In a pre-clinical study, College of Medicine neuroscientists showed that V2a interneurons contribute to an injured body's ability to self-repair.

V2a Cells: Searching for Optimal Therapies

The Lane Lab’s focus is on boosting plasticity — the naturally occurring recovery of damaged spinal circuitry. Such recovery is limited but the thinking here is that there may be ways to harness and strengthen plasticity and thus optimize functional recovery. Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Blog

We're One Step Closer to Reversing Paralysis

A new implant joins a small set of treatments offering hope to people with spinal injuries. Tonic

Quick Take: Improving Life for People With Spinal Cord Injuries

Walking is not the top priority for many patients who have suffered from cervical spinal cord injuries, according to Michael Lane, PhD, an assistant professor at Drexel University College of Medicine. Much more basic functions — like controlling bowel movements and breathing independently — take precedent. Drexel News Blog

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Michael Lane, PhD - Primary Investigator, Lane Lab

Michael Lane, PhD
Primary Investigator; Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy