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The podcast feeding the movement to cure paralysis

Designing the Cure Garden (Episode 97)

Guests: Jordan Squair & Mark Anderson

Today we are talking with Jordan Squair and Mark Anderson about their September 2023 paper published in the journal Science: “Recovery of walking after paralysis by regenerating characterized neurons to their natural target region”. The work is akin to the first gardeners figuring out how to make plants grow. What elements are necessary? What combination of factors? How do you cultivate the soil? How do you make stuff grow in the right direction? What inhibits growth? But instead of plants, it's injured neurons.

Squair and Anderson are both highly accomplished scientists, and they happen to be best friends. They work together with Gregoire Courtine’s group and NeuroRestore at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Lussanne. We discuss Jordan and Mark’s background and motivation for pursuing neuroscience and their particular research interests, their roles in this paper, and the paper itself. There is also a fascinating, overlying theme about how scientific discoveries lead to the formation of new scientific questions and how new work builds on old work. 

As always, please share your thoughts with us via email at Thanks for listening! 

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Bumper music: Dig a Hole by Freaque

Guest Bios

Jordan Squair, PhD received his undergraduate, master’s, and PhD degrees (as part of the MD/PhD program) at the University of British Columbia. After completing his postdoctoral fellowships at the Swiss Federal Institute of Tech- nology (EPFL) and the University of Calgary, Jordan started his group as a Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione Fellow in the Life Sciences Department within NeuroRestore at EPFL in 2022, and as a Neurosurgery resident at the university hospital of Lausanne. His research focuses on developing technological and biological interventions for neurotraumatic and neurodegenerative disorders.

Learn more and connect with Dr. Squair here:

Mark A. Anderson, PhD is the Director of Central Nervous System Regeneration at NeuroRestore and the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, Switzerland. He completed his BSc and MSc degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Southern California and worked in industry prior to transitioning into neuroscience. Mark completed his PhD in neuroscience at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL), where he worked with Gregoire Courtine and Michael Sofroniew on developing biological repair interventions for SCI. Following this, he completed a postdoc between EPFL and UCLA prior to becoming a group leader at EPFL. Dr. Anderson's goal is to regenerate the human spinal cord.

Learn more and connect with Dr. Anderson here:

Further Reading