The laboratories, under the auspices of the Department of Neurosurgery, occupy over 35,000 sq ft and employ eight PhD scientists and 20 staff for conducting federally and privately funded research projects. Established in 1964, the labs have capabilities that extend from molecular/cellular investigations to full-scale vehicular crashworthiness. These include: microscopic-, cellular-, and gene-level evaluations, spine biomechanics, isolated tissue testing, assessment of occupant injury mechanisms, and vehicle crashworthiness assessment.
The laboratories employ both basic and applied science methods to study clinically relevant problems. Ongoing projects include: evaluation of treatment protocols after spinal cord injury; mechanisms and outcomes of mild traumatic brain injury; head and spine injuries in vehicle crashes; evaluation of surgical treatment for the degenerating spine. Novel methodologies are used to conduct the research including: isolated tissue models, animal models, patient case reviews, computer stress/strain-based models, and vehicle crash simulations. Fundamental data regarding mechanisms of neurotrauma and levels of human tolerance are derived to give design criteria for primary intervention strategies and secondary prevention efforts.
The laboratories are equipped and staffed for a full spectrum of clinical, basic science, and applied science investigations.