Barbara S. Bregman, PhD

Professor and Chair
Department of Neuroscience
Georgetown University Medical Center
EP-04 New Research Building 
3970 Reservoir Road
Washington, DC 20057
Phone: 202 687-1452
Fax: 202 687-0617

Research Interests

Recovery of function, spinal cord regeneration, axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury

Research Summary

The long range goal of my research program is to identify the requirements of developing mature CNS neurons for survival and axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury, and to develop ways to enhance regenerative growth using interventions such as transplants and neurotrophic factors. In particular, I am interested in the underlying mechanisms of why women recover faster and to a greater degree than men after such trauma. Current laboratory studies seek to:

  1. Define the cellular and molecular characteristics of neurons that regenerate successfully after spinal cord injury during development or in the adult, and
  2. Determine the extent to which changes in the cellular and molecular characteristics of the environment of the host spinal cord caudal to the spinal cord transection contribute to regeneration after spinal cord injury.

The ongoing experiments use spinal cord lesions and transplants in newborn and adult rats and the administration of exogenous neurotrophic support (BDNF, NT-3) and antibodies to myelin-associated inhibitors of axonal elongation to define the cellular and molecular characteristics of neurons that regenerate successfully.

Additional studies are designed to define the mechanisms underlying recovery of motor function following spinal cord injury, the specific pathways involved, and to identify methods to enhance this recovery. Qualitative and quantitative behavioral analysis of specific tests of reflex and locomotor function, and qualitative and quantitative neuroanatomical tracing techniques are used in these studies.

Representative Publications

  • Bregman, BS, Coumans, JV, Dai, H, Kuhn, PL, Lynskey, J, McAtee, M, and Sandhu, F 2002. Transplants and neurotrophic factors increase regeneration and recovery of function after spinal cord injury in Spinal cord trauma: Neural repair and functional recovery. Prog.Brain Res. 37: 257-273.
  • Qiu, J, Cai, D, Dai, H, McAtee, M, Hoffman, PN, Bregman, BS, and Filbin, MT 2002. Spinal axon regeneration induced by elevation of cyclic AMP. Neuron 34: 895-903.
  • Coumans, JV, Lin, TT, Dai, HN, MacArthur, L, McAtee, M, Nash, C, and Bregman, BS 2001. Axonal regeneration and functional recovery after complete spinal cord transection in rats by delayed treatment with transplants and neurotrophins. J Neurosci 21: 9334-9344.
  • Cai, D, Qiu, J, Cao, Z, McAtee, M, Bregman, BS, and Filbin, MT 2001. Neuronal cyclic AMP controls the developmental loss in ability of axons to regenerate. J Neurosci 21: 4731-4739.