2020 NINDS/CNSF Getch K12 Scholar Award - – Nicholas Au Yong, MD, PhD (Class of 2018)
Funded by the NIH and CNS, the Getch Scholar Award recognizes “neurosurgeons who possess unique clinical and research skills that identify them as the next generation of neurosurgical leaders.” One award is given each year to a candidate competitively selected from among U.S. neurosurgeons in their first two years following academic training
Dr Au Yong's research will focus on his interest in broadening the scope of neuromodulation for those with traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. With the CNS Getch Award, Dr Au Yong will address the needs of ventilator dependent cervical spinal cord injury (cSCI) patient whose injuries impair the normal function of the phrenic nerve - the main nerve controlling the diaphragm. The goal of his research is not only to stimulate the phrenic nerve, but to use neuromodulation to reduce or eliminate ventilator dependence. His goal is to conduct studies that develop phrenic sympathetic stimulation to healthy neuromuscular junctions and improve the efficiency of nerve transmission. His research will use sophisticated techniques, including optogenetics, to advance the science that is key to developing this therapy.