Mr Bart Nieuwenhuis

University position

PhD student
Supervised by Prof. James W. Fawcett


Department of Clinical Neurosciences


Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair


Research Themes

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Clinical and Veterinary Neuroscience


Spinal cord injury can lead to damage of the corticospinal tract and thereby result in paralysis. My PhD project aims to promote regeneration of corticospinal tract because this is the key event to restore motor function.

The research strategy is based on an integrin engineering protocol that has produced substantial regeneration of sensory axons in the spinal cord. This was achieved by expressing integrins and their activator kindlin in injured sensory neurons. However, that approach will not work for corticospinal neurons because integrins are selectively blocked at the axon initial segment. We therefore plan to overcome the transport block though demolition of the axon initial segment and co-transduce the neurons with alpha9 integrin and kindlin. The hypothesis is that this combinatorial intervention could lead to successful regeneration of the corticospinal tract after spinal cord injury.

Neuron from the brain grown in a culture dish for two weeks
Neuron from the brain grown in a culture dish for two weeks
Click image to view full-size

Research Focus


Axonal regeneration

Axonal transport

Gene therapy


Spinal cord injury

Clinical conditions

Spinal cord injury


Behavioral analysis

Cell culture

Fluorescence microscopy


Live cell imaging

Viral expression vectors



Joost Verhaagen Web:

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Nieuwenhuis B, Haenzi B, Andrews MR, Verhaagen J, Fawcett JW (2018), “Integrins promote axonal regeneration after injury of the nervous system” Biological Reviews PDF



    Mecollari V, Nieuwenhuis B, Verhaagen J (2014), “A perspective on the role of class III semaphorin signaling in central nervous system trauma.” Front Cell Neurosci 8:328 PDF Details