The overarching goal of the Dulin lab is to develop robust cellular- and molecular-based approaches that can improve motor function and reverse pain following spinal cord injury. We are specifically interested in characterizing the changes in neural circuitry that occur after the spinal cord becomes injured, and replacing lost spinal cord neurons with neural progenitor cell transplantation. By understanding how newly grafted neurons can connect with and modulate complex neural circuitry in the injured adult nervous system, we can begin to engineer better transplants that can compensate for lost neurological function.
Mapping Pain Circuitry After Spinal Cord Injury
A significant proportion of individuals with spinal cord injury experience chronic sensory dysfunction including neuropathic pain, for which there remains no effective treatment. In order to develop better treatments for spinal cord injury-associated pain, establishing a better understanding of how injury alters sensory processing in the nervous system will be critical. We are working to generate a global “map” of the sensory neurons that become hyperactive after injury, with the ultimate goal of restoring balance to pain signaling through neural progenitor cell transplantation. This project is funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.