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Neural-regeneration researchers garner awards

Two researchers at VA’s Center of Excellence on Restorative Function in Spinal Cord Injury and Multiple Sclerosis, based at the West Haven (Conn.) VA Medical Center and affiliated with Yale University, recently received awards for their work.

Robert J. Brown, MD, a postdoctoral fellow at the center, received the James J. Peters Spinal Cord Injury Scholarship Award. The award is sponsored by United Spinal Association and given each year by VA’s Rehabilitation Research and Development Service to a junior VA investigator whose work promises to answer important questions about spinal cord injury. The award includes $75,000 from United Spinal in support of VA Career Development funding. Brown is trying to heal spinal cord tumors or injuries in rats by administering precursor cells that foster the growth of new neurons.

Jeffery D. Kocsis, PhD, who co-directs the West Haven center with Dr. Stephen Waxman, received the da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Kocsis is widely known for his work over the past 20 years in transplantation-based approaches toward restoring and preserving function in the injured central nervous system. The research is seen has holding considerable promise for new treatment strategies for both spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.