USF neuroscientist elected next president of American Society for Neural Therapy & Repair

Tampa, Fla. (June 28, 2010) – The members of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR) have elected Paula C. Bickford, PhD, professor of neurosurgery and pharmacology at the University of South Florida, president for 2011-2012.

As ASNTR president-elect, Dr. Bickford’s term will follow the current term of president Daniel A. Peterson, PhD, chairperson of the Department of Neuroscience at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. His term ends in April, 2011.


Paula Bickford, PhD

ASNTR, founded in 1994 as an interactive forum for scientists working in translational neuroscience, neural transplantation and nervous system regeneration and plasticity, has more than 250 members from academia and industry.

“Dr. Bickford’s early and ongoing research into the potential benefits of antioxidants for protection against neural cell degeneration in both aging and disease, provide her with a unique perspective to lead ASNTR,” said Dr. John Sladek, professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and an ASNTR co-founder. “It is clear that the scope and integrity of her research, coupled with her enthusiasm, will serve to inspire our young investigators.”

Dr. Bickford joined the USF faculty in 2001. She is a member of the USF Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair and the USF Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, as well as serving as a Senior Research Career Scientist at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. She received her BS degree in biochemistry in 1978 from University of Vermont and her PhD in 1984 from the University of Colorado Health Science Center.

Her research spans anti-inflammatory mechanisms of oxidative stress in aging, neuronal plasticity and learning and stem cell approaches to slowing brain aging and treatment for neurological diseases.

Dr. Bickford recently has shown that nutritional approaches, such as blueberries or spirulina, are effective neuroprotective treatment strategies when tested in animal models of Parkinson’s disease and stroke. She also demonstrated that nutritional approaches increase stem cell function, in particular neurogenesis in response to injury or in the aged brain.

Dr. Bickford won the Walter Nicolai Prize for biomedical gerontology from the American Aging Association, served as the organization’s president in 2000, and continues to serve on its Board of Directors. She has served on the governing council of ASNTR.

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The mission of the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair is to develop new therapeutic strategies to promote repair and regeneration of aging and diseased brain. Building on a foundation of excellence in basic and clinical research, the Center focuses on translating innovative ideas into industrial partnerships, educational and clinical services to address key needs of the community and those suffering from brain injury and disease.

- Story by Randy Fillmore, USF Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair