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Are you a student thinking about a career in research? Are you interested in bringing hope to people suffering from a spinal cord injury? Would you like to learn more about exciting new research aimed at reducing, or even reversing, the effect of a spinal cord injury?

The Facts: More than 10,000 people in Australia live with a spinal cord injury. Most injuries occur in young people (15-24 years), particularly men, as a result of road trauma or sports accidents. Currently, there is no way to repair the damaged spinal cord so people are often left with a permanent disability, such as paraplegia. This can mean spending the rest of their life in a wheelchair with a range of health problems.

Spinal Network: Spinal Network is an Australian/New Zealand organisation helping individuals make the best possible recovery from a spinal cord injury. Our goals are to provide leadership for spinal cord injury research, to improve treatment strategies and facilitate more effective clinical trials into ways to treat spinal cord injury. As part of our aims to facilitate spinal cord research, we are interested in hearing from students keen to learn more about a research career in this area.

Need for Research: With no current treatment available, there is an urgent need to find better ways to prevent spinal cord injury and promote recovery. Exciting research is being undertaken in the basic sciences to better understand neural injury mechanisms and potential repair strategies, as well as in clinical studies aimed at improving outcomes for people with spinal injuries.

Research areas include:

  • biomedical engineering studies aimed at primary prevention, such as ways of reducing injuries in traffic accidents
  • biological science studies, aimed at preventing ongoing tissue damage or promoting repair/regeneration strategies, such as cellular transplants including stem cells and biobridges
  • clinical studies, focused on achieving better functional outcomes, for example through improved treatments or rehabilitation strategies.
  • psychosocial studies aimed at improving the quality of life for people with cord injuries.

What next? If you are interested in a research career in any of these areas, or have a general inquiry about research in spinal cord injury, we would be pleased to hear from you.