Philip J. Horner, Ph.D., received a Ph.D. in physiology from Ohio State University in 1995. He did post-doctoral training with Dr. Fred H. Gage and became a staff scientist in the Lab of Genetics at the Salk Institute in 1998. In 2001, Dr. Horner joined the faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He directed a laboratory at the UW South Lake Union Campus and was a member of the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. In 2015, Dr. Horner became the Scientific Director of the Center for Neuroregenerative Medicine and the Co-Director, Center for Regenerative and Restorative Neurosurgery at the Houston Methodist Research Institute in Houston Texas. Dr. Horner’s research focuses on the role of glial and neural progenitor cells in the regeneration of the injured and aging nervous system.
The Horner lab is focused on the interaction between glial and neural cells following central nervous system challenge and specifically: 1) mechanisms of adult stem cell-derived lesion remodeling/repair and 2) role of gliogenesis and gliosis in neural degeneration. Over the past decades, researchers have observed that the human brain and spinal cord retain a population of stem cells with the capacity to replace neurons and glia. However, during normal aging and following trauma or disease, the brain and spinal cord stem cells fail to replace needed circuitry. The Horner lab has been developing approaches to modify and amplify the fate of neural stem cells to increase cellular repair after spinal cord and brain injury. Together with electrical stimulation, the lab has shown that regeneration of neural circuitry offers hope for repair nervous system. Together with clinical research partners at Houston Methodist and our global partners, the Horner lab seeks to move from bench to bedside by engineering new neural circuits in people with chronic paralysis in order to restore hand function. Neural regeneration strategies are also being applied to stroke, head injury, glaucoma and motor/cognitive decline associated with aging.