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Veronica Tom

Veronica Tom, PhD


Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy


  • BS in Neural Science - New York University
  • PhD in Neurosciences - Case Western Reserve University

Veronica Tom, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy.

Research Interests

Axon regeneration and plasticity after spinal cord injury


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

Projects currently funded by:

  • National Institutes of Health
  • Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

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.


“Chronic neuronal activation increases dynamic microtubules to enhance functional axon regeneration after dorsal root crush injury”
Wu D, Jin Y, Shapiro TM, Hinduja A, Baas PW, Tom VJ
Nature Communications. 11(1):6131 (2020)

“Spinal dopaminergic mechanisms regulating the micturition reflex in male rats with complete spinal cord injury”
Qiao Y, Brodnik Z, Zhao S, Trueblood CT, Li Z, Tom VJ, España RA, Hou S
Journal of Neurotrauma. 38(6):803-817 (2021)

“Pharmacological inhibition of soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha (sTNFα) 2 weeks after high thoracic spinal cord injury does not affect sympathetic hyperreflexia”
O’Reilly ML, Mironets E, Shapiro TM, Crowther K, Collyer E, Bethea JR, Tom VJ
Journal of Neurotrauma. 38(15):2186-2191 (2021)

“Peripheral immune dysfunction: a problem of central importance after spinal cord injury”
Jeffries MA and Tom VJ
Biology. 10(9):928 (2021)

"Attenuating neurogenic sympathetic hyperreflexia robustly improves antibacterial immunity after chronic spinal cord injury"
Mironets E, Fischer R, Bracchi-Ricard V, Saltos TM, Truglio TS, O’Reilly ML, Swanson KA, Bethea JR, Tom VJ
J. Neurosci. 40: 478-492. (2020)

"Grafting embryonic raphe neurons reestablishes serotonergic regulation of sympathetic activity to improve cardiovascular function after spinal cord injury"
Hou S, Saltos TM, Mironets E, Trueblood CT, Connors TM, Tom VJ
J. Neurosci. 40: 1248-1264. (2020)

"Knockdown of fidgetin improves regeneration of injured axons by a microtubule-based mechanism"
Matamoros AJ, Tom VJ, Wu Di, Rao Y, Sharp DJ, Baas PW
J. Neurosci. 39: 2011-2024. (2019)

"Soluble TNFα signaling within the spinal cord contributes to the development of autonomic dysreflexia and ensuing vascular and immune dysfunction after spinal cord injury"
Mironets E, Osei-Owusu P, Bracchi-Ricard V, Fischer R, Owens EA, Ricard J, Wu D, Saltos T, Collyer E, Hou S, Bethea JR, Tom VJ
J. Neurosci. In Press. (2018)

"Surgical techniques influence local environment of injured spinal cord and cause various grafted cell survival and integration"
Hou S, Saltos TM, Iredia I, Tom VJ
J. Neurosci. Methods. 293: 144-150. (2018)

"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 112: 62-71. (2017)

"Combining expressing constitutively-active Rheb expression and chondroitinase promotes functional axonal regeneration after cervical spinal cord injury"
Wu D, Klaw MC, Connors T, Kholodilov N, Burke RE, Côté MP, Tom VJ
Molecular Therapy 25: 2715-2726. (2017)

"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)

Contact Information

Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
2900 W. Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
Phone: 215.991.8401
Fax: 215.843.9082