Award: Fulbright Irish Student Award
Sponsor: Enterprise Ireland
Institution: NUI Galway
Ciara Shortiss is a PhD student in the Anatomy Department and Regenerative Medicine Institute, National University of Ireland Galway. Ciara completed her BSc Biological Sciences- Neuroscience in University College Cork, which included a year abroad in the University California San Diego, before completing a MSc in Regenerative Medicine in NUIG. Her PhD research is funded by the Irish Research Council and investigates viral gene therapy vectors to reduce the production of molecules in a spinal cord injury scar. The scar that forms after spinal cord injury is one obstacle stopping nerve re-growth, preventing signals from being transmitted to and from the brain. Therapies that target multiple obstacles preventing regeneration show the most promise in treating spinal cord injury. As a Fulbright Awardee at the Neurobiology Lab, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, Ciara will investigate combining her gene therapy with a biomaterial scaffold developed in the Mayo Clinic to further promote nerve growth after spinal cord injury.