Congratulations to Dr. Brian Kwon, recipient of the Marcel Dvorak Chair in Spine Trauma!

Congratulations to Dr. Brian Kwon, Associate Director of Clinical Research at ICORD and Director of Research for the Vancouver Spine Research Program, who has been appointed as the inaugural recipient of the Marcel Dvorak Chair in Spine Trauma at Vancouver General Hospital.

Almost twice a week, a newly paralyzed individual arrives at VGH after suffering a spinal cord injury

ICORD Principal Investigator Dr. Brian Kwon, Professor of Orthopaedics at UBC and spine surgeon-scientist at VGH, has devoted his career to the spinal cord injury field.

Dr. Brian Kwon’s chair appointment will span the continuum of research from basic scientific discovery in the lab to human clinical trials for spinal cord injuries.

VGH is one of the busiest SCI centres in North America, and has a long history of leadership in the SCI field. VGH is home to the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, one of the largest multidisciplinary clinical and research institutes in the world. By housing ICORD, the Rick Hansen Institute, and the David and Brenda McLean Integrated Spine Clinic, the Blusson Centre brings scientists and physicians under the same roof to advance translational research for individuals with SCI.

The Dvorak Chair, now held by Dr. Brian Kwon, will bridge the scientific and clinical disciplines to promote translational discovery.

“There’s a continuum of research here from bench to bedside,” says Dr. Kwon. “In the lab we’re doing studies that help us understand the basic biology and physiology of the injury and guide the development of treatments for acute SCI. And clinically, we’re leading a number of studies that promote a better understanding the acute injury process and highlight the things we might be able to do now to improve function of the injured spinal cord.”

“Ultimately, we hope to establish interventions that will allow SCI patients who are paralyzed to regain their function and walk away from their injury,” Dr. Kwon says. “Our overall goal is to restore full physical function to individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury.”

Dr. Kwon’s chair appointment will support activities that span the continuum of research from basic scientific discovery in the lab to human clinical trials for SCI and spine trauma.

“The Dvorak Chair opportunity will provide the resources to be bold and foster outside-the-box thinking,” says Dr. Kwon. “If you want to do something ambitious, or try something that might be a bit unconventional, you need to have these kinds of resources to start exploring and get early results. With today’s funding environments being increasingly formidable, if you don’t have the opportunity to be bold and creative, you’re quite constrained.”

“This chair affords us the opportunity to be ambitious, innovative, and really try to push new frontiers,” he adds. “That sort of opportunity is really exciting to us.”

Originally posted in the VCHRI Research Insider