ISCoS 2020 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Dr. James Guest MD, Ph.D. is a Professor of Neurological Surgery at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in Miami, Florida. He obtained his MD degree from the University of Alberta in 1988 and completed neurosurgical residency training in Vancouver in 1998. He was certified by the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. During residency, he obtained a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Miami studying cell transplantation after spinal cord injury (SCI). In Vancouver, during the last years of residency, he collaborated with the nascent ICORD. He then moved to the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona for fellowship training in spinal surgery and research training in the primate motor system. He then returned to the University of Miami. Dr. Guest has a strong interest in translational research and clinical trials in SCI. He has received funding from Spinal Research, the DOD, the NIH, and the Craig Nielsen foundation. Together with colleagues, he translated autologous Schwann cell transplantation for SCI into human subjects through two sequential clinical trials. For these trials, his team also conducted neurophysiological studies. He is the PI in Miami for the North American Clinical Trials Network Registry and the RISCIS study. He is an AO Spine knowledge forum member and served on the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine grants working group for the past 4 years. He has conducted studies in large animal models including cell transplantation, the use of biomaterials and pioneered delivery methods that have been patented. Current work is in neuromodulation using deep brain stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region tested in in combination with epidural stimulation after SCI. The other main lab focus is the study of multi-organ blood flow after SCI. He is collaborating with researchers from the Bronx VA, Kessler Rehabilitation, and the University of Louisville to assess alterations in blood flow underlying normalization of blood pressure in high-level cervical injury subjects during epidural stimulation.
Dr. Kilgard trained in biochemistry and genetics at UC Berkeley and in neuroscience at UC San Francisco. He is the Margaret Fonde Jonnson Professor and directs the Texas Biomedical Device Center. Dr. Kilgard has published more than 120 paper in peer reviewed journals, including Nature, Science, Neuron, and Stroke. Dr. Kilgard holds 25 U.S. patents. His work is supported by DARPA, NINDS, NIDCD, the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas, and Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation. His research is focused on understanding the mechanisms that regulate neural plasticity in order to develop clinical tools to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions using precisely targeted synaptic plasticity. Dr. Kilgard’s laboratory uses behavioral training, environmental enrichment, drug therapy, deep brain stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation methods to enhance neural plasticity. Over the last decade, his lab has developed treatments for spinal cord injury, tinnitus, PTSD, and stroke that employ brief bursts of vagus nerve stimulation paired with sensory stimulation or movement to direct therapeutic plasticity. These treatments are highly effective in animal models and are now being tested in randomized clinical trials.