PCSRF recently committed to support the work of PhD student Matt Barker in 2019, as part of the Spinal Injury Project at Griffith University
Matthew Barker is a mature age student who graduated from Griffith University majoring in Structural Biology and Applied Mathematics. Due to his passion to create a benefit for society he joined the Spinal Injury Project team at Griffith University to pursue a PhD to help improve the olfactory cell therapy for spinal cord repair. For his PhD project, Matt embarked on the difficult task of properly identifying the different cells that exist in a biopsy taken from the nose, as these cells are the ones that are transplanted into the spinal cord. One key problem in the field was that there are two types of cells that can be obtained, but they cannot be easily separated because they have very similar characteristics. So Matt had to discover new ways of identifying the different cells, and then working out how the differences between the cells so that the best combinations of cells can be used for transplantation.
Ultimately, Matt’s PhD project will lead to high quality identification and characterisation of the different cell types that will be transplanted into the spinal cord. By using the best cells for transplantation, the best outcomes for regenerating the injured spinal cord will achieved.