SBMS graduate to join leading USA spinal cord injury research centre

21 Jun 2016

Dr Faith BrennanDr Faith Brennan is leaving SBMS for the USA in July to take up a postdoctoral research position at the Centre for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair at the Ohio State University (OSU).

Her work in the USA will build on PhD research undertaken in the Laboratory for Neural Injury and Repair.

“My PhD focused on understanding the factors that cause harmful inflammation following spinal cord injury, and how this might be controlled,” she said.

“We had some very positive results using certain drugs to target acute inflammation and improve motor function in a laboratory mouse model of spinal cord injury.

“Because of the difficulties in translating promising therapies from rodents to human spinal cord injury patients, we also used an advanced form of MRI to study the injury in live mice.

“By undertaking imaging with and without treatment, we were able to detect a reduction in tissue pathology in the mouse model as a result of immune-modulatory therapy.”

Dr Brennan said she is now very much looking forward to continuing her research with world leading spinal cord injury experts at the OSU Centre.

“As well as working on inflammation, I’ll also be researching how to reduce autonomic dysfunction after spinal cord injury,” she said.

“It will certainly be a challenge, but I’ve been very fortunate to have had exceptional training and mentoring at SBMS.”

Dr Brennan was recently awarded a $4,000 Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation Scholarship, which she will use to cover travel expenses and other costs associated with her move to the USA. 

She also received a 2015 UQ Graduate School Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Theses, an Award presented to less than 10 percent of UQ PhD and MPhil graduates each year.

Dr Brennan was nominated for this Award by her thesis examiners, who considered her thesis to be an outstanding contribution to the field of research.

Contact: Dr Faith Brennan,