The NERO lab is currently supported by:

The National Institutes of Health

                    The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

The Wings for Life 

Previous Supporting Includes:

American Physiological Society

University of Kentucky

Endogenous microglia and blood-borne monocytes (collectively referred to as CNS macrophages) are activated by CNS trauma and home to the site of injury. Once these cells occupy the CNS, they persist there indefinitely. This phenomenon has been documented extensively in different models of mammalian brain and spinal cord injury and is also a feature of human neurotrauma. I am interested in understanding the biological mechanisms that regulate this ubiquitous response to injury with the goal of manipulating CNS macrophages to promote repair. Ongoing studies are examining: 1) Can a pro -regenerative macrophage phenotype be induced after injury using pharmacological agents? 2) What signaling pathways drive reparative macrophage phenotypes and can those pathways be manipulated after spinal cord injury? 3) How do physiological and biomechanical factors such as age, sex, and injury severity affect the inflammatory response to neurotrauma? The goal of these studies is to develop therapies that will translate to the human population.

The mission of the Gensel Laboratory in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center and Department of Physiology at the University of Kentucky is to understand the cellular and molecular events resulting from neurotrauma and facilitate the development of therapies that improve the lives of individuals with traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. Specifically, we strive for scientific excellence in order to secure funding and perform original, eminent, and reputable research in the field of neurotrauma. The goal of the lab is to maintain a productive, stimulating, and inclusive research environment; one in which all lab members, regardless of lived experiences and background, continue to learn and advance their careers through purposeful dedication and collective team focus. Realization of this mission and goal is world-wide scientific recognition in the field of neurotrauma; successful recruitment and retention of a critical mass of laboratory staff; sufficient funding to conduct optimized experiments without financial stress; and dissemination and prominence of former lab members.

TECHNIQUES Small animal surgeries including modeling traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, intraspinal/cranial microinjections, cell transplantation, track tracing; immunohistochemistry and state-of-the-art microscopy (light/fluorescence/dark-field/confocal) and image analysis (stereology); development and utilization of high-throughput, automated image analysis programs; behavioral analysis of locomotor and sensory function; cell culture (neuronal/glial/macrophage/lymphocyte); live cell imaging; macrophage and neuron phenotype and functional assays (gene array; flow cytometry) ; viral vectors utilization (transformation, transfection, transduction); molecular biology (e.g., PCR,westerns), transgenic animals.

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