Neurotrauma is the biggest cause of injury related death and disability. Despite many advances in brain imaging and brain monitoring, there are few therapeutic options for brain injury and outcomes remain universally poor.

This research theme has a major focus on the development of novel neuroprotective agents for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Both are conditions in which cells in the central nervous system are damaged and subsequently die, leading to significant neurological impairment.

There is a short time window following injury in which neuroprotective treatments may be able to reach these cells and damaged circuits and protect them from death. Minimising this secondary damage should lead to improved outcomes for patients. There exist several potential neuroprotective agents that have been identified in experimental models of trauma and there is hope that some of these agents can be successfully transferred to the clinic.

This research theme also aims to develop sensitive tests (e.g. biomarkers) to rapidly quantify and follow the progression of brain and spinal cord injuries in patients, both within minutes of injury and during longer-term follow-up. The assessment of biomarkers in clinical samples will be correlated with observations made in experimental models of neurotrauma. This will facilitate the translation of laboratory findings to trauma clinical trials conducted at the scene of an accident or in an acute emergency setting.

In SCI and TBI there is also a need for therapeutic support in the post-acute period, and within this theme we are going to explore new approaches which could support patients and could be used in parallel with rehabilitation programmes.

Neuroprotection in SCI and TBI

Despite many advances in imaging and brain monitoring, there are few therapeutic options for neurotrauma and outcomes remain universally poor. New treatment approaches and products have been characterized in the laboratory but we need to identify the key reasons for repeated translational failure in the clinic.

The consequences associated with TBI and SCI are due to the fast propagation of tissue destructive processes, in the minutes and hours following trauma. Most trials of neuroprotective agents have had a period of 8 hours or longer between injury and administration of the drug.

Our research focuses on the development and hyperacute delivery (i.e. on scene within minutes of injury) of new interventions and drugs that promote both neuroregeneration and neuroplasticity (connectivity), which ultimately lead to some restoration of function.

More information about neuroprotection

Complex multinutrient preparations for the management of SCI and TBI

After SCI and TBI, the secondary injury processes result in large scale disruption of the tissue, for example, in the case of SCI, formation of cavities in the cord. This compromises synaptic circuitry. There is therefore a need for therapeutic approaches that address specifically this aspect of the injury and support the patient in the long-term, and we are pursuing this goal in our research.

More information about multinutrient preparations


Staff and Publications

Research theme lead

Professor Adina Michael Titus  (Discovery)

Dr Jordi Lopez Tremoleda  (Experimental models)

QM Co-investigators

Research Team




  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) administered in the “golden hour” after injury significantly reduces the lesion size in the spinal cord compared to a control model group, and yields better neurological outcome

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