Our Funded Projects

See who you are supporting with your donations.

Spinal Cord Injury Research Facility (SCIRF)

Total Commitment: NZ$580,990
over 5 years ($116,176.00 p.a.)

Host institution: The University of Auckland

Research location: Spinal Cord Injury Research Facility (SCIRF)

Director: Dr Simon O’Carroll

Technical Manager: Barbara Fackelmeier

Funding term: 1 August 2020 – 31 July 2025, five years

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A major initiative of the SCIRF continues to be training of biomedical students in spinal cord injury research and development of novel treatments for spinal cord injury. Funding for this covers the cost of highly specialised technical support and access to the world-class animal facility to support ongoing projects and collect pilot data to be used to attract funding from others sources, and summer studentship funding that allows the recruitment and training of postgraduate students.

Providing security of funding for the SCIRF allows the team to continue to attract and retain high quality staff and students crucial for building on the existing current projects as well as developing news ideas both locally and through international collaborations.

SCIRF carries out experiments in the Vernon Jansen Animal Unit (VJU) at the University of Auckland. The VJU is a state-of-the-art, high-containment animal facility that provides support for projects that have high-level containment requirements.

Long term funding for a technician ensures the employment of a highly experienced animal technician Barbara Fackelmeier. Barbara has over 15 years’ experience working with animals and is crucial to provide ongoing training in animal care and behavioural testing to new staff and students as well as providing ongoing technical, surgical and animal care support for postdocs and students within the SCIRF.

Being able to offer summer student scholarships allows the team to bring high quality medical and science students into the lab and introduce them to the field of spinal cord injury research.

Project Spark: Sparking a revolution in the way spinal cord injury is treated

Total Commitment: AU$1,121,500

Host institution: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Sydney

Collaboration: NeuRA, SpinalCure and CatWalk

2023: AU$320,116
2024: AU$364,079
2025: AU$364,079

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A joint funding agreement 50/50 between CatWalk and SpinalCure to support the research being undertaken by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).

Building on the eWalk trial evidence, NeuRA researchers and NeuroMoves clinics will commence a world-first national program of community studies making experimental neurostimulation treatments available in the community

Electroceutical therapies to treat spinal cord injury in a preclinical model

Total Commitment: NZ$246,362

Host institution: The University of Auckland

Director: Dr Bruce Harland

2023: NZ$123,181
2024: NZ$123,181

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This fellowship will create / test second-generation bioelectric implants that are flexible and use super-capacitive electrodes that are less prone to degeneration. Both low and high frequency stimulation will be tested, whilst the final aim will use a battery-operated device, removing the need for external cabling.

Calcium binding buffer proteins and neuroprotection

Total Commitment: NZ$218,586

Host institution: The University of Auckland

Post‐Doctoral Research Fellow: Dr Sheryl Tan

2023: NZ$115,592
2024: NZ$11,768

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A series of functional studies will be conducted using human spinal cord tissue and stem cells to see if the distribution of calcium binding buffers are altered in the injured spinal cord and therefore if they create neurodegeneration.

Generating human oligodendrocyte precursor cells from adult human dermal fibroblasts – Project Funding

Total Commitment: NZ$55,833

Host institution: The University of Auckland

Director: Dr Amy Chapman

2024: NZ$1,952

This project will compare the viability and differentiation of cells encapsulated in 3D bio printed hydrogels verses the traditional flat 2D substrates.

The NZ Brain Bee Challenge (NZBBC)

Annual Commitment: NZ$15,000

The NZBBC is a competition for high school students in year 11 to learn about the brain and its functions, learn about neuroscience research, find out about careers in neuroscience and to dispel misconceptions about neurological and mental illnesses.

The NZBBC provides current and accurate information on the latest advances in neuroscience research, its value to the community, and promote careers in science and technology.

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Computational modelling and analysis to inform electrical treatments following spinal cord injury and assist in development of electrical biomarkers.

Total Commitment: NZ$246,362

Host institution: The University of Auckland

Lead Researcher: Dr Brad Raos

2024: NZ$106,884
2024: NZ$106,884

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This project will provide a means to both record and stimulate from the spinal cord. It has high potential to provide breakthroughs, not only in terms of treatment but also understanding of SCI, e.g. acute /spinal shock phase. Linking imaging with electrical activity and function across time, could yield important and novel information.

Make a difference, today.

Spinal cord injury does not have to be a life sentence. A cure is within reach.
Your support helps to bring that cure closer.
Thank you.