UCL Institute of Neurology


Spinal Repair Unit

Using surgical techniques to correct neurological problems, and developing new ways to repair spinal injury

Confocal fluorescent micrographs showing sagittal cryosections of 17 pcw human foetal olfactory system*

Scientific Lead:

Professor Ying Li

Clinical Lead:

Dr David Choi

Research Team:

Dr Daqing Li

Mr Ahmed Ibrahim

Research Goals

  • To develop a method of repair for spinal cord injuries using transplanted olfactory ensheathing cells cultured from the olfactory system.
  • To apply successful results in experimental models to patients with spinal cord injury, using the patient’s own donor tissue.
  • To optimize the quality of cell production, bridging material and surgical approaches.

Funded Research Projects

  • Characterisation of cell types obtained from mixed cell cultures of the human olfactory mucosa for the application of central nerve repair. Funded by the Wellcome Trust HICF
  • Repair of spinal cord injury by transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells. Funded by the UK SCF and NSIF

GMP production of human olfactory ensheathing cells. Funded by the National Brain Appeal

Recent publications from Spinal Repair

Further information

* Oprych et al. (2017). Common olfactory ensheathing glial markers in the developing human olfactory system.  Brain Structure and Function May 2017, Volume 222, Issue 4, pp 1877–1895. doi:10.1007/s00429-016-1313-y