The laboratory's long-term goal is to translate promising treatment strategies from animal models to humans. To reach this goal, two lines of research are being conducted. The first line of research is on neuroprotection. Our lab was among the first to report programmed cell death (or apoptosis) following acute SCI, and to report phospholipase A2 (PLA2) as a key mediator of the secondary SCI. The second line of research is on axonal plasticity, remodeling and regeneration. To bridge the gap of damaged spinal cord, we were among the first to transplant Schwann cells (SCs) into the lesion gap to promote axonal regeneration and recovery of function following SCI. In addition to SCs, we extent our cell therapy to include oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and human embryonic stem cell-derived glial progenitors (hESC-GPs) in their ability to support neural circuit remodeling and recovery of function. These cell-based strategies are combined with other efficacious treatments (e.g., exercise training, small therapeutic molecules, and nanoparticles) on boosting intrinsic and extrinsic regenerative capacities. We are particularly interested in promoting regeneration and/or reorganization of descending motor pathways including the corticospinal tract (CST), the rubrospinal tract (RST) and the descending propriospinal tract (dPST). In our research, we apply cutting-edge and multidisciplinary approaches including novel injury models, cellular and molecular biology, in vivo imaging, optogenetics, electrophysiology, behavioral, and histology/immunohistochemistry approaches.