News Release

Drexel University spinal cord injury researcher Dr. Michael Lane receives award from ASNTR

ASNTR's Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award recognizes outstanding research in brain repair

Grant and Award Announcement

University of South Florida

Tampa, Fla. (April 29, 2019) - At its 26th Annual Conference, held April 25-29, 2019 in Clearwater Beach, Florida, the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR) presented the 2019 Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award to Dr. Michael Lane, associate professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine.

Presented periodically by ASNTR, the Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award recognizes significant research in brain repair.

Dr. Lane, who in 2004 received his PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia, focuses his research on spontaneous and therapeutically enhanced neural plasticity following cervical spinal cord injury, a research interest he developed while serving a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Florida's Department of Neuroscience. Since 2013, Dr. Lane was been working in the Drexel University College of Medicine's Spinal Cord Research Center. His research team works toward better defining the extent of functional and anatomical plasticity at spinal and supraspinal levels and developing tests and therapeutic strategies to enhance spontaneous neuroplasticity (repair) and functional recovery following spinal cord injury.

"Dr. Lane embraces science with a passion and has a genuine commitment to improving the quality of life for those who have endured CNS trauma and disease," said Paul J. Reier, PhD, Anne and Oscar Lackner Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Florida. "Since his arrival at Drexel University he has established a comprehensive program to answer the challenging issues accompanying spinal cord injury and has built upon the intraspinal transplantation work and studies of spinal interneurons he initiated in our laboratory during his fellowship."

Dr. Lane is currently the Principal Investigator on a National Institutes of Health study entitled "Neural transplants to promote respiratory plasticity after spinal cord injury." His team's recently published research in the Journal of Neurotrauma demonstrated improved respiratory function in rodents with spinal cord injuries after successfully transplanting a special class of laboratory-grown neural cells, called V2a interneurons. Their work has the potential to help paralyzed patients breathe without a ventilator.

"Michael is a true champion for spinal cord patients and pursues his work with passion, integrity, and honesty," said Giles W. Plant, PhD, associate professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University. "He is a dedicated and talented researcher who constantly challenges himself to achieve the impossible - to repair the injured spinal cord. His work has been truly influential in the treatment of cervical spinal injuries, particularly in the recovery of breathing circuits after injury. His dedication to his work provides hope for these patients."

Past recipients of The Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award include: Hans R. Widmer, PhD, University of Bern, Switzerland, Eng H. Lo, Ph.D., Harvard University & Massachusetts General Hospital; Cesar V. Borlongan, PhD, University of South Florida; Sean Savitz, MD, University of Texas Medical School at Houston; Stephen Dunnett, PhD, Cardiff University; Barry Hoffer, PhD, Case Western Reserve University; and Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD, Lund University - Wallenburg Neuroscience Center.


ASNTR's 27th Annual Conference will be held April 23-25, 2020 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. For more information, email Donna Morrison or visit the ASNTR website

ASNTR is a society for basic and clinical neuroscientists using a variety of technologies to better understand how the nervous system functions and establish new procedures for its repair in response to trauma or neurodegenerative disease. Member scientists employ stem/neural cell transplantation, gene therapy, trophic factor and neuroprotective compound administration and other approaches.

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