Integrative Center for Neural Repair

Results Through Unified Research

The Integrative Center for Neural Repair (ICNR) at the UCLA Brain Research Institute brings together cutting edge research from a broad range of disciplines in order to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, paving the way for more effective and innovative treatments for diseases and injuries of the nervous system.

Whether due to injury or disease, damage to the central nervous system negatively impacts millions of lives each year. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, or Huntington’s progressively debilitate patients over time, while stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury can alter the course of a life in an instant. Unfortunately, current treatments for these disorders are few and limited in scope, and mostly deal with alleviating symptoms rather than repairing the damage. To shift the current paradigm, our research focus is not only to understand the underlying mechanisms of neuronal degeneration, but also to study how healthy neurons develop and function, protect themselves against damage, and recover by forming new connections and networks.

Built on a foundation of collaboration among world-class experts in the four major areas of Neurodegenration, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Spinal Cord Injury, scientists at the ICNR can examine common pathways and elements involved in these seemingly different diseases, ranging from the most basic (molecular and cellular) to the most complex (human patient) perspectives. Intrinsic to our collaboration is the ability to rapidly and seamlessly share and translate insights gained from one area to the others. For example, we can study the use of endogenous and transplanted stem cells in a model of stroke, which can then be applied to neurodegeneration or spinal cord injury, or apply knowledge gained from studying protein aggregation in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease to those observed in spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries, or study the role of mitochondria (the powerhouses of cellular respiration) in healthy cells, in developing targeted therapies for a number of diseases.

ICNR faculty members are also active in mentoring the next generation of scientists in the areas of neuronal development, degeneration and repair. Through laboratory experience and participation in scientific meetings and seminars, trainees gain the multi-disciplinary and in-depth training needed to lead the next generation of scientists.

The collaborative efforts of over 40 scientists and physicians working across multiple disease areas and disciplines, uniquely enables ICNR investigators to work as a cohesive unit dedicated to finding improved solutions for the challenges of nervous system repair and recovery.


Bennett G. Novitch, Ph.D.

Steering Committee: 
Michele Basso, Ph.D.
S. Thomas Carmichael, M.D., Ph.D.
V. Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D.
David Hovda, Ph.D.