While I was in LA we took a road trip to San Diego to go and visit Ellen Sinopoulos and take a tour of the labs at UC San Diego Center for Neural Repair Biomedical Research Facility to check out there research and progress to finding a cure for paralysis.
I met Ellen in London while she was working for Liz Bradbury’s team at Kings College, London. Ellen has such a passion for finding a cure for spinal cord injury and not only that she’s one of the loveliest, warmest and hardworking people I know. It’s so great that we have people like her in the field working so hard for our cause!
So when she moved to San Diego to work in UC San Diego, I just had to pay her a visit while I was in LA.
We were really welcomed into UC San Diego and shown around and introduced to everyone who worked there. Ellen and Lori Graham very kindly showed us around the labs. I saw some incredible hi-tech pieces of equipment and they explained some of the procedures while they were working inside the labs, very impressive!
The researchers are working on neural stem cells (NSCs) which are multipotent cells that generate the neurons and glia of the nervous system. Their use appears to be essential to cure spinal cord injury and this is one of the main focus of researchers work in the Tuszynski Lab at UC San Diego.
After a tour of the campus and lunch, I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Paul Lu and Mark Tuszynski.
I asked Mark “Are you optimistic that this procedure will give people more function and also get paralysed people walking again?” He answered that he is extremely confident and that looking at the best possible scenario to start clinical trials in two years.
I had such a great day and I was really inspired by the people, the work being carried out and most of all HOPE.
Thanks to Ellen and everyone at the UC San Diego for your time and making us feel so welcome, but mostly for your dedication to finding a reversal for paralysis. Let’s make chronic spinal cord injury curable!
Read Ellen’s story:
My name is Ellen Sinopoulos and I’m 30 yrs old, I started my journey into neuroscience when I got my BSc from University of Glasgow in 2011. By that time I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I came in contact with SCI research very early in my career and I was stunned with the effects SCIs have and the intricate complexity of it. I pursued and obtained my MSc in 2014 and then worked as a research assistant in Prof Martin’s lab in NYC studying development. Although it sounds unrelated to SCI it really is not. The basis of solving this complex mystery is to understand how the nervous system develops in the first place in order to be able to re-establish a similar developmental state. Then in 2015 I joined Prof Bradbury’s lab in London where I completed my PhD focusing on combinational therapeutic approaches for SCI. I completed my PhD in 3 yrs and now I m a postdoc in Dr. Tuszynski’s lab in San Diego, California working on a primate model of SCI. I chose to pursue a career here not only because this is one of the best labs in the world but also because of its focus on clinical translation. We are at the forefront of ground breaking research and we do everything we can to provide a solution for SCI.