Recovering respiratory motor and muscle function after severe spinal cord injury

Year of award: 2021


  • Dr Philippa Warren

    King's College London, United Kingdom

Project summary

Respiratory failure is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality following spinal cord injury (SCI) due to the trauma and common post-injury acquired pneumonia infections. However, there exists no effective SCI clinical treatment. SCI causes damage throughout the respiratory system (including the spinal cord, muscles and connective pathways) which spinal therapies alone do not recover. I will determine whether a novel treatment strategy targeting both spinal and muscle recovery can cause profound respiratory restoration after SCI. I will use advanced experimental models and imaging to determine the physiological changes and mechanisms of injury and recovery and employ computer modelling to assess these changes. Finally, I will determine if, and how, my combination treatment strategy has enabled sufficient respiratory recovery to overcome the functional deficits caused by infection. This research is critical to the development of SCI treatment strategies for respiratory dysfunction and advancing our understanding of neurological injury and recovery.