About Zusman Workshop

History of the Zusman Workshop:


In 2017, the Center for Neuroregeneration hosted an “experimental” workshop aimed at driving innovative ideas and catalyzing communication and functional cooperation across sub-disciplines in neurobiology, engineering, and physiology. The overall goal was to bring regenerative therapies to people who suffer from chronic paralysis, cognitive decline, and other neurologic impairments. The workshop received high praise and, as a result, the Patricia Levy Zusman International Workshop on Neuroregeneration (Zusman Workshop) was founded. Dr. Philip J. Horner, the Director of the Center for Neuroregeneration, Houston Methodist Research Institute and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Neurosurgery, has served as the Zusman Workshop’s steering committee Chair since its inauguration. In 2019, he was joined by Dr. Karim Fouad, Professor at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair for Spinal Cord Injury, who has since served as the steering committee Co-Chair.


The workshop is structurally organized to bring together and foster new clinical/basic research partnerships that would not only accelerate the discovery of novel stimulation mechanisms, but also inject exciting concepts from the field of neural regeneration to create combinatorial approaches. As such, an exciting and unique feature of the Zusman Workshop was introduced in 2019: our competitive mini-grants (a.k.a., Catalyst Awards) in which a mock study section grades collaborative pitches for early-stage ideas that are generated right then and there at the workshop by newly formed research groups. Funding ensures the groups can travel to each other’s institutions, increasing the success of their innovative ideas. Overall, the goal of the Zusman Workshop is to bridge the gap between the fields of cell engineering/plasticity and functional/electrical stimulation.

Dr. Philip J. Horner

Dr. Horner received a PhD in physiology from Ohio State University in 1995. He performed his postdoctoral 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 Neuroregeneration and the co-director of the Center for Regenerative and Restorative Neurosurgery at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. He also holds a faculty position at the Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. Dr. Horner’s research focuses on the role of glial and neural progenitor cells in the regeneration of the injured and aging nervous system.


Learn more about Dr. Horner's research.