Joao Nuno Alves

Joao Nuno Alves

University position

PhD student
Supervised by Professor James Fawcett


Department of Clinical Neurosciences


Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair


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Research Themes

Clinical and Veterinary Neuroscience

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Chondroitinase is a promising candidate for the treatment of human spinal cord injury (SCI). It is a bacterial enzyme that cleaves glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains from chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans, which present a major barrier to nerve regeneration. Removal of GAG chains by the enzyme promotes axon regeneration across the injury site and also reactivates plasticity of synaptic connections. These actions have been shown to produce substantial recovery of function after spinal cord injury. A major disadvantage of using the bacterial enzyme is the problem of delivery,which requires multiple injections into the injury site, increasing the risk of further trauma and infection. Prof Fawcett's group has therefore engineered a chondroitinase gene that can be used to transduce cells at the site of injury. The aim of this project is to assess the therapeutic efficacy of delivery of this modified gene in an experimental (rat) model of SCI treated via cellular transplants ('bridge grafts').

Research Focus


None specified

Clinical conditions

Spinal cord injury


Traumatic brain injury


No equipment indicated


No collaborators listed

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