NERO Lab at the Bluegrass Society for Neuroscience Research Day 2015




Over a half dozen manuscripts were published in 2020

Jessica, Ethan, and Olivia all received T32 fellowships for 2020-21 (July 2020)

Dr. Andrew Stewart receives a 6-month supplement for F32 (July 2020)

Michael Orr starts new position at Vanderbilt University

Jessica, Ethan, and Olivia joined the NERO lab (June 2020)


New Publication in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience (Nov. 2019)

​New Publication in Neural Regeneration Research (Nov. 2019)

New Publication in Experimental Neurology (Oct. 2019)

Steve MacLean joins the NERO lab (Aug. 2019) Steve graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor's of Science and is working as a lab technician.

New Publication in Journal of Neurotrauma (Jan. 2019)

New Publication in CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics  (Jan. 2019)


New Publication in Brain Behavior and Immunity (Nov. 2018)

New Publication in Journal of Neuroinflammation (Oct. 2018)

Former post-doc, Jennifer Simkin, begins an independent faculty position at LSU (Oct. 2018). Dr. Simkin completed a joint postdoc in the NERO lab in the laboratory of Dr. Ashley Seifert. She is now an Assistant Professor at LSU Health Sciences Center

John Gensel named Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Endowed Chair #5 (Sept 2018)

Michael Orr receives T32 training fellowship (August 2018)

John Gensel speaks at International Neurotrauma meeting (Aug 2018)

Tim Kopper receives prestigious F31 training fellowship from NIH (July 2018)

New Publication in PLOS One (July 2018)

John Gensel promoted to Associate Professor with tenure (June 2018)

William Bailey promoted to Research Scientist (June 2018) 

New publication in Neurotherapeutics (May 2018) 

Dr. Andrew Stewart joins the NERO lab (April 2018). Dr. Stewart received his PhD at Central Michigan University and will do a postdoc in the lab.

Caitlin Seward joins the NERO lab (May 2018).  Caitlin is in the Masters of Science in Medical Science program and plans to complete her thesis in the lab.

NERO receives pilot grant from University CCTS (Feb 2018). We will explore new therapies for closed head injury through a collaborative project with Dr. Adam Bachstetter.

Bei Zhang begins independent tenure-track faculty position (Feb 2018). After completing her post doc in the NERO lab (2013-2018), Bei is now an Assistant Professor at Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine


John Gensel chairs symposium at the International Symposium on Neural Regeneration (Dec. 2017)

Gensel Lab member Katelyn McFarlane awarded Master's Degree in Medical Science (Dec. 2017).  Begins illustrious job in the NERO lab

New publication in Neural Regeneration Research (Oct. 2017)

Gensel Lab awarded new grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation (August 2017). This two-year award will investigate the effect of age on mitochondrial function after spinal cord injury.

Timothy Kopper awarded Fellowship for the Neurobiology of CNS Injury and Repair T32 training grant (July 2017). This two-year fellowship will support Tim's thesis work focused on myelin-mediated inflammation after spinal cord injury. 

New publication in Journal of Neuroscience Research (July 2017)

Michael Orr awarded the College of Medicine Fellowship for Excellence in Graduate Research (June 2017). Michael is one of four graduate students awarded this highly competitive fellowship.

New publication in Elife (May 2017)

Katelyn McFarlane joins the Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab (May 2017): Katelyn is a graduate student in the Masters of Science in Medical Science program at the University of Kentucky.

New publication in Journal of Neurotrauma (April 2017)

Julie Ann Wilson awarded American Physiological Society Summer Fellowship (May 2017): Julie will be funded to examine the role of sex in spinal cord injury recovery.

New publication in Experimental Neurology (March 2017)

New publication in Scientific Reports (Jan 2017)


Jennifer Simkin Presents at the 75th Society for Developmental Biology Meeting (August 2016)

New publication in Neurobiology of Aging (August 2016).

John Gensel Presents Seminar at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis (July 2016). "Neuroinflammation in Spinal Cord Injury"

New publication in Radiology (July 2016). 


John Gensel Chairs Session: “The effect of age on trauma-induced neuroinflammation” at the Annual National Neurotrauma Symposium, June 28th, Lexington, KY (June 2016). Timothy Kopper, Michael Orr, Bei Zhang, and Jennifer Simkin utilize awards (see below) and present posters at the conference.

Lab Members receive awards to attend the Annual National Neurotrauma Symposium. (April 2016) Timothy Kopper, Michael Orr, Bei Zhang, and Jennifer Simkin all received awards from the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust to present their work at the conference.

Michael Orr Joins the Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab (March 2016): Michael is a graduate student in the Integrated Biological Sciences PhD program at the University of Kentucky and will be completing his PhD in the Physiology Department.

John Gensel Present Seminar in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of Kentucky (March 2015). "The role of macrophages in spinal cord injury"


New publication in Journal of Neuroinflammation (November 2015). 

New publication in Nature Communications (October 2015).

Gensel Lab awarded new grant from the National Institutes of Health (September 2015). This 5-year, $1.6M grant from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke will examine the mechanisms behind protective macrophage activation in spinal cord injury and how age and sex alter the effectiveness of immunomodulatory spinal cord injury therapies.

New publication in Journal of Alzheimers Disease (September 2015).

Amy Veldhorst Joins the Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab (August 2015).  Amy is a graduate of Centre College. 

New publication in Experimental Neurology (August 2015).

New publication featured in "This Week in the Journal" for The Journal of Neuroscience (July 2015). The press release can be found here.

New publication in Brain Behavior and Immunity (June 2015).

Anna Leigh McVicar Joins the Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab (May 2015).  Anna Leigh is an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky.

Gensel Lab awarded new grant for Igniting Research Collaborations from the University of Kentucky (April 2015). The grant is a collaborative project between Drs. Steven Van Lanen and John Gensel focused on developing neuroprotective therapies from macrolide antibiotics.

New Publication in the Journal of Neurotrauma (April 2015). 

William Bailey and Michael Orr Win Poster Presentation Awards at the Annual Bluegrass Society for Neuroscience Research Day (March 2015). 

Timothy Kopper Joins the Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab (March 2015): Timothy is a graduate student in the Integrated Biological Sciences PhD program at the University of Kentucky and will be completing his PhD in the Physiology Department.

Neha Kadambi Joins the Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab (January 2015): Neha is a high school student at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in Lexington, KY.

Dr. Jennifer Simkin Joins Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab and is awarded a postdoctoral fellowship (January 2015): Jennifer is supported by the University of Kentucky to study the inflammatory response in regenerating mammalian systems through a join appointment in the Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab and the laboratory of Dr. Ashley Seifert

New publication in Brain Research (January 2015)


John Gensel Chairs a Nanosymposium at the 44th annual meeting for the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC (November 2014): William Bailey and Bei Zhang also presented at the annual meeting.

Michael Orr joins Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab (July 2014)

New Publication in Experimental Neurology (July 2014)

William Bailey presents data at the Wings for Life Scientific Meeting 2014 in Salzburg, Austria (May 21-22, 2014): Will presented his data regarding genetic engineering techniques for altering macrophage phenotypes. His work is supported by the Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation.

Dr. Bei Zhang presents data at the 20th Annual Kentucky Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Trust (KSCHIRT) Symposium (May 16th, 2014). Bei presented her work regarding the effect of age on recovery and inflammation after spinal cord injury.

Dr. Bei Zhang awarded prestigious Craig H. Neilsen Postdoctoral Fellowship (May 2014): Bei will serve at PI for a two-year grant examining how age affects inflammation and oxidative stress after spinal cord injury.

Review accepted for publication (April 2014): Drs. Bei Zhang and John Gensel wrote a review comparing neuroinflammation after spinal cord vs. brain injury to be published in Experimental Neurology.

Kyeong (Rachel) Jang presents poster at the annual Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego (April 2014): With the support of the American Physiological Society, Rachel presented her work on toll-like receptor 2 and macrophage phenotypes.

Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab presents work at the Annual Bluegrass Society for Neuroscience Research Day in Lexington KY (March 2014): Bei Zhang and William Bailey presented posters entitled: "Age-related neuroinflammatory responses to spinal cord injury" and "Promoting a targeted neuroprotective immune response".  

Kyeong (Rachel) Jang presents poster at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in Lexington, KY (April 2014):  Rachel discussed her work examining TLR2 and macrophage activation during a poster presentation.

Kaitlyn Braun Joins Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab (Jan. 2014): Kaitlyn recently graduated from the University of Kentucky as a physiology scholar.


John Gensel to speaks at the 15th International Symposium on Neural Regeneration in Pacific Grove, CA (Dec 2013): John’s talk is entitled: “Vacillating macrophages and the enigmatic spinal cord injury environment” (Dec. 11-15th).

Kyeong (Rachel) Jang accepted into the Physiology Scholars Program (Nov. 2013): Rachel has been recognized by the Department of Physiology for her commitment to research as a physiology scholar

Recent work accepted for publication (Nov. 2013): Biological Psychiatry (In press) Immune activation promotes depression one month after diffuse brain injury: a role for primed microglia  Fenn AM, Gensel JC, Huang Y, Popovich PG, Lifshitz J, Godbout JP.

Microglia priming
minisymposium, chaired by Dr. John Gensel and Dr. Jonathan Godbout, attracts large crowd at the Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego in November (Nov. 2013): John's minisymposium session, entitled
"Neurological Consequences of Microglia Priming: Aging, Disease, and Trauma" and co-chaired by Dr. Jonathan Godbout (Ohio State), was selected from a large number of submissions based on its timeliness and importance to the field of Neuroscience. Well over 500 people were in attendance to hear about microglia priming in a variety of different neurological diseases and pathologies. In addition to Dr. Gensel and Dr. Godbout, Dr. Donna Wilcock (Univ. of Kentucky), Dr. Colm Cunningham (Trinity College, Ireland), Dr. David Loane (Univ. of Maryland), and Dr. Ruth Barrientos (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) gave talks.

Dr. Bei Zhang Wins Post Doctoral Travel Award to Attend the 15th International Symposium on Neural Regeneration in Pacific Grove, CA (November 2013): Bei will present her ongoing work on the effect of age on neuroinflammation and recovery after spinal cord injury (Dec. 11-15th).

John Gensel awarded prestigious 2-year grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to examine neuroinflammation after spinal cord injury (Oct. 2013; abstract below): Our goal is to modulate the inflammatory response to spinal cord injury (SCI) in favor of an attenuated neutrophil influx and an M2-polarized macrophage response that will favor post-SCI repair and improve recovery. Inflammation is a ubiquitous but poorly understood consequence of neurotrauma. Appreciation for both the reparative and pathological potential of activated immune cells (macrophages and neutrophils) has grown in recently years, however, the development of clinically-viable, immunomodulatory therapies that can harness their reparative potential while limiting pathology remains a critical challenge facing the SCI community. We have identified unique, immunomodulatory properties associated with an FDA-approved antibiotic that is well tolerated in individuals with SCI. Through the completion of the proposed studies we will gain mechanistic insight into the beneficial and harmful effects of neuroinflammation, as well as, establish important pre-clinical dose and timing parameters for translation of a potentially effective SCI therapy.


The Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair Lab is awarded grants:

Kyeong Jang awarded American Physiological Society Summer Fellowship (May 2013): Kyeong (Rachel) scored in the top 35% of applications received by the APS and will be funded to examine the phenotypic differences between immortalized macrophage cell lines and primary macrophage cells in culture.

William Bailey Wins Poster Award at the 29th Annual Bluegrass Society for
Neuroscience Research Day (April 2013):
 William Bailey won an award presenting his poster entitled: The effect of age on the neuroinflammatory response to spinal cord injury by W. Bailey, P. Rock, A. Fenn, J. Godbout, J. Gensel
William Bailey awarded Wings for Life Fellowship (April 2013): William Bailey will serve as the principal investigator for a 1 year grant focusing on developing viral vector techniques for treating spinal cord injury. 


Bei Zhang Joins the Neuroinflammation & Neurotrauma Research Lab (April 2013): Dr. Zhang recently completed her Ph.D. in the Nutritional Sciences program at the University of Kentucky. She has authored or co-authored six primary research publications and is a strong addition to the lab.

Neuroinflammation & Endogenous Repair (lab)...Oh yeah!!!
Principal Investigator: John C. Gensel, PhD
741 South Limestone
Lexington, KY 40536​


Bei Zhang at 20th Annual KSCHIRT meeting

Will Bailey at Wings for Life