International Neurotrauma Summer School

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Already for the third time, students participated in the international Neurotrauma Summer School that has been jointly organized by Wings for Life and ISRT (International Spinal Research Trust). Local co-host was Prof. Hans Werner Müller from the Molecular Neurobiology Lab at the Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf. 25 Students from Europe, North America, and China gathered together in Hattingen, Germany, to deepen their knowledge about spinal cord injury (SCI), biological changes after injury and possible treatment options.

Interaction with experts
During talks and workshops, international experts in their field informed about various aspects of research fields associated with SCI. The scientists highlighted background and progressions in the fields of axon regeneration, neuroprotection and glial scar. They presented advancements in neuronal plasticity and its relevance for locomotor activity, emphasized the importance of the immune system after an SCI and discussed pros and cons of different model systems and their evaluation.

Award for junior researchers
During a poster session, students presented their own research projects, discussed their results and received feedback from experienced researchers. An expert jury awarded the best posters: the third place: Abdolrahman Omidinia-Anarkoli of the DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in Aachen, Germany; second place: Kathren Fink, Yale University in New Haven, USA; first place: Matthew Gallagher, St George's University of London, UK. Chelsea Wood, University of Chester, UK was chosen for a special poster prize.

Translation to clinics
The importance of translating research findings from the laboratory to the clinic has been highlighted and results of the first stem cell transplantation trials were presented. Further discussion focused on clinical problems like acute management after an SCI and bladder dysfunction.

The visit at the University Hospital Bergmannsheil in Bochum complemented the course. Here, clinicians and their incomplete SCI patients demonstrated the use of an HAL (hybrid assistive limb)-Exoskeleton in rehabilitation training. This device is able to enhance residual locomotor function of the patients.