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The podcast feeding the movement to cure paralysis

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (Episode 86)

Guest: Patrick Ganzer

The topic of today’s conversation is the vagus nerve. In Latin, "vagus" means wandering or straying, which this conversation does a fair bit of due to the interesting subject matter. Our guide on this path is Patrick Ganzer of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Dr. Ganzer gives us a great overview of the vagus nerve including its possible evolutionary benefits, early explorations and its unique attributes. More importantly, Dr. Ganzer explains how the vagus nerve can be stimulated to open a window of neuro-plasticity and improve functional outcomes in spinal cord injury. We also talk about his research in phase 1 clinical trials and what is on the horizon.

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Listen on: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Soundcloud

Bumper music: Dig a Hole by Freaque

Guest Bio

Patrick D. Ganzer, PhD is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami (jointly appointed at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the Department of Biomedical Engineering). He received his undergraduate degree in 2008 from King’s College (Pennsylvania; Summa Cum Laude). In 2013, he received his Ph.D. from Drexel University, conducting biomedical engineering and neuroscience research in preclinical models of spinal cord injury (main mentor: Dr. Karen Moxon; co-mentor: Dr. Jed Shumsky). Dr. Ganzer then completed his postdoctoral fellowship in 2017 at the University of Texas at Dallas and the Texas Biomedical Device Center with Drs. Robert Rennaker and Michael Kilgard (research focused on enhancing neuroplasticity after sensorimotor injury using targeted vagus nerve stimulation).

Dr. Ganzer also has significant experience researching and developing neurotechnology in industry, working at Battelle Memorial Institute from 2017-2021 in the Medical Devices and Neuromodulation division. At Battelle, Dr. Ganzer was PI for both the internally funded Bioelectronic Medicine program and the N3 program funded by DARPA. He also received the prestigious Kumar New Investigator Award from The North American Neuromodulation Society in 2022. Dr. Ganzer’s neurotechnology teams have translated their work to multiple clinical trials, published in several high impact journals (e.g., Cell, Nature Communications, Science Advances, Nature Human Behavior, and eLife), and have received multiple awards for their impact on the field of translational neurotechnology.

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  • This podcast is made possible by a grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s National Paralysis Resource Center. The information provided and opinions expressed in these podcasts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. For more information about the Foundation’s National Paralysis Resource Center visit