The Pro-SCI Lab at The Ohio State University studies the pathophysiology of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) in the acute and chronic stages, with the purpose of developing novel nutritional and rehabilitation strategies to improve neurorecovery, metabolic function, and microbiome composition. We do this by addressing exciting questions like:
- Can the ketogenic diet improve neurorecovery by decreasing neuroinflammation in the acute stages of SCI?
- How does a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet impact insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and muscle signaling for glucose utilization in the chronic stages of SCI?
- Can neuromuscular electrical stimulation help maintain healthy skeletal muscle size and fiber phenotype (homogenous distribution of Type I, IIa, and IIx fibers) early after SCI?
- How does SCI-induced distorted gut microbiome composition impact metabolic and bowel health outcomes after SCI?
- Can we identify therapeutic targets such as diet, probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, or fecal microbiome transplants to prevent secondary health complications of SCI?
We integrate SCI demographics, clinical and experimental data, metagenomics, and metabolomics into a comprehensive database to facilitate more complete health pictures, thus allowing the best treatment and prevention strategies for the acute and chronic stages of SCI.
This kind of work is impactful and fun and all possible because of our diverse group of scientists (with backgrounds in neuroscience, rehabilitation, nutrition, skeletal muscle biology, metabolism, exercise science, microbiology, and biostatistics) working together. We inspire each other by freely sharing our data, expertise, and, most importantly, ideas.
Dr. Yarar-Fisher is the principal investigator of the Pro-SCI Lab. She strives to ensure that all mentees, including under-represented racial and ethnic minorities and international students, feel supported in their quest for a satisfying and successful career and confident in their skills and contributions. Her mentoring style is empowerment-oriented, culturally sensitive, and excellence-driven. She aims to provide unconditional supportive mentoring, whether her trainees want to become researchers like her. She encourages their independence by introducing them to many resources to help them thrive independently when she is not around. She encourages them to take an active role in designing, planning, and executing experiments and interpreting results. By the end of the training, her trainees can design, execute, troubleshoot the experiments, and interpret the findings.
She has intentionally created a space within her laboratory that harnesses their collective interests to build a strong team with a common goal of contributing discoveries in SCI and improving the quality of life for those impacted by the injury while recognizing and celebrating their diverse backgrounds and identities. Pro-SCI lab members believe science works best to produce novel insights when influenced by diverse ideas from individuals working together.
We are located in the fantastic city of Columbus, OH (Go Buckeyes!) with innovative arts scenes and booming tech industry.
Until a few months ago, we were located at Birmingham, AL (Magic City!), only place in the world where all three raw ingredients for steel (coal, limestone, and iron ore) occur naturally within a ten-mile radius.