Neurotrauma Summer School

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In June 2014, the second Neurotrauma summer school was held at the Fundación Ortega y Gasset, Toledo, Spain. 30 PhD students and young postdocs from Europe and America attended the initiative supported by Spinal Research Trust and Wings for Life to learn more about spinal cord injury, gaining more insights in its pathology and treatment options.

In lectures, coaching sessions and workshops, the neurobiology of the spinal cord was covered, as well as aspects of plasticity, rehabilitation, immune system complications, modeling clinics treatment, up to clinical trials and drug development. Leading researchers from all over the world gave lectures presenting past and present developments of their respective field. In terms of translation, the current status of promising clinical studies were introduced and furthermore, the clinical aspects of spinal cord injured patients were discussed.

“The summer school was a valuable experience for me.  I particularly liked the exchange of knowledge between researchers and clinicians. This is exactly the field I would like to work on in the future. We found out about new, very promising discoveries but also talked about barriers that need to be solved together. A successful week.”  (L. Gassner, participant from Austria)

The participants learnt about merits and limitations of the models used to analyze this disease. What is more, each student not only focused on their own research field, but also neighboring disciplines were introduced and discussed. During a poster session, students had the opportunity to present their own work and to discuss it with invited experts. The three best posters were awarded and we again congratulate:

1st: Mark Anderson, Brain Mind Institute at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
2nd: Isaac Phang, St George's University of London
3rd: Jessica Marbourg, The Ohio State University

At the end of the school, the faculty as well as students also had the possibility to visit the new buildings of the local National Hospital for Paraplegics in Toledo, which was first opened in 1974.  There is a close relationship between clinics and research as the National Hospital for Paraplegics also hosts research groups and laboratories working on different aspects of SCI research. There, the Spanish researchers also presented their work in a poster session and showed their labs to the interested young scientists.