Dr. Matt Ramer

Principal Investigator

B.Sc. (Queen’s University), Ph.D. (Queen’s University), Post-Doctoral Fellowship (King’s College London)
Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of British Columbia

Research Interests

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Dr. Ramer’s research focuses on sensory neurons by examining how low sensory information works at the spinal cord level, how signals are processed to transmit pain and manage locomotion, how sensory fibres can reconnect with the spinal cord after injury, and how uninjured fibres compensate for damaged ones. He also looks at whether exercise and growth factors can be used to improve recovery. Another major area of his work is in the profound changes in the sympathetic nervous system after spinal cord injury.

Dr. Ramer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia and a Principal Investigator at ICORD. He completed both his B.Sc. and his Ph.D. at Queen’s University. His Post-Doctoral Fellowship was at King’s College London.

Dr. Ramer’s research aims to find ways of promoting recovery which is not directly related to locomotion: recovery from pain due to damaged nerves, improved bladder and bowel control, and normalization of blood pressure.

He enjoys working at ICORD because it allows him to focus on his research in an extraordinary facility.

Recent Collaborations:

Dr. Ramer works with Dr. Andrei Krassioukov on researching the relationship between exercise and autonomic function.

He also collaborates with Dr. Jaimie Borisoff on examining the change in knee-jerk reflex after SCI, so that patients with SCI always have a large reflex response.

Major Findings:

Dr. Ramer’s research has identified a growth factor which appears in the spinal cord after SCI and prevents regeneration and plasticity. These effects are negative, but having identified the specific growth factor gives Dr. Ramer and others a target for later research.

Dr. Ramer has also discovered a new organelle in sympathetic neurons.

For more of Dr. Ramer’s major findings, please see the selected publications below, as well as his recent publications listed at the bottom of the page:


Some of Dr. Ramer’s recent major awards and accomplishments include:

  • ROAD Undergraduate Mentorship Award (UBC Research Opportunities and Director 2008)
  • CIHR New Investigator Award (CIHR, 2006-2011)
  • Senior Scholar Award (MSFHR, 2001-2006 and 2006-2011)
  • Spinal Cord Prize (International Spinal Cord Society (2000)

Current Lab Members

Ph.D. Students Research Staff
Brittney Smaila Rose Rodrigues
Seth Holland

Trainee Awards

Year Name Award
2020 Seth Holland
  • endMs personnel award, MS Society
2019 Brittney Smaila
  • Graduate Award + COVID bonus, Faculty of Science
  • Graduate Student Travel Award, Zoology
  • Trainee Travel Award, ICORD
  • 2nd Place Masters Poster, ICORD
2019 Seth Holland
  • Four-year Fellowship, Cell and Developmental Biology
  • 2nd Place Poster, ICORD
  • 1st Prize PhD Poster, Canadian Spinal Cord Injury Symposium
 2015 Diana Hunter
  •  Poster Presentation Winner (3rd International Autonomic Symposium)

Techniques employed in the lab:

  • Behavioural analysis
  • Behavioural models
  • Electrophysiology
  • Light, confocal, and electron microscopy

Affiliation with organizations and societies:

  • Society for Neuroscience member

Current Opportunities in the Lab

There are currently no openings in Dr. Ramer’s lab. Please contact Dr. Ramer with inquiries.

Recent publications

  • Smaila, BD et al.. 2020. Systemic hypoxia mimicry enhances axonal regeneration and functional recovery following peripheral nerve injury.. Exp Neurol. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2020.113436.
  • Liu, J et al.. 2020. A Cervical Spinal Cord Hemi-Contusion Injury Model Based on Displacement Control in Non-Human Primates (Macaca fascicularis).. J Neurotrauma. doi: 10.1089/neu.2019.6822.
  • Erskine, ELKS et al.. Skilled reaching deterioration contralateral to cervical hemicontusion in rats is reversed by pregabalin treatment conditional upon its early administration.. Pain Rep. doi: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000000749.
  • Holland, SD, Ramer, LM, McMahon, SB, Denk, F, Ramer, MS. An ATF3-CreERT2 Knock-In Mouse for Axotomy-Induced Genetic Editing: Proof of Principle.. eNeuro. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0025-19.2019.
  • Mattucci, S et al.. 2019. Development of a traumatic cervical dislocation spinal cord injury model with residual compression in the rat.. J Neurosci Methods. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2019.03.010.
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