Student Spotlight – Jay Nair

  • Jay Nair_website photoWhat has been your experience in the Rehabilitation Science program? What have you enjoyed most about the program?

Rehabilitation of an individual with disability involves integration of knowledge across multiple disciplines. The Rehabilitation Science program at University of Florida provides an excellent platform for trainees to learn this from a seamless conglomeration of researchers doing applied and basic sciences across the campus. Being in this program enables me to constantly immerse myself in a buzz of intellectually stimulating talks and discussions at seminars, meetings, laboratory, and even in hallways. Over the years I saw my thought process evolve as a trainee in an environment where a strong emphasis is placed on harnessing random ideas into well-crafted federally funded grant proposals. In this process I found myself very fortunate to be mentored by Dr. David Fuller. In his Respiratory Neurobiology and Neuroplasticity laboratory at University of Florida, I was assigned to handle independent research projects. This opportunity allowed me to develop a first-hand appreciation of the amount of logistics and responsibilities needed to run a research project. Another important unique feature of this program and life at University of Florida is its very strong international community. Making friends from colleagues across the globe and experiencing their food and culture is always fun and exciting. Overall it’s been a great privilege to study Rehabilitation Science at University of Florida.

  • What are you currently researching?

My overall research interest is in the rehabilitation of individuals with neurological injuries and disorders. Currently, my research objective is to determine the basic mechanism of sensory-motor plasticity in the phrenic circuitry following spinal cord injury (SCI). I am working on this through two separate projects. One of my research projects is aimed at determining the spontaneous neuroanatomical plasticity in the sensory projections of phrenic nerve and its related cervical roots following cervical SCI. The second project is aimed at determining the neuroanatomical plasticity in the descending respiratory pre-motor projections following SCI. I employ various in-vivo neuronal tracing techniques to map the neuroanatomical projections. These studies will enable us to understand the neuronal substrate on which novel rehabilitation strategies aimed at restoring breathing following SCI can be developed.

  • What awards have you received and what have you published and presented?

Awards and Honors

2015                Graduate Student Travel Award ($350), University of Florida

2014                Public Health and Health Professions Research Collaboration Mixer Award. College of Public Health and Health Professions. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, February, 2014

2012                Second Place Presentation Award ($200) for poster presentation at Student Research on Aging, Second Annual Exposition; Institute for Learning in Retirement, Gainesville, FL. Titled: Reach and Grasp after Stroke: Effects of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy.

Abstracts at National Conferences

Nair, J., Gonzalez-Rothi, E., Armstrong, G., Reier, P., & Fuller, D. (2015). Anatomical characterization of phrenic afferent projections following cervical spinal cord injury. The FASEB Journal, 29(1 Supplement).

Weblink for published abstract:

Nair, J., Fox, E., Kerwin A., D’allesandro, A., McParland, J., Faw, T., Hoh, D.J., Reier, P., Fuller, D. (2015). Diaphragm pacing after cervical spinal cord injury – weaning outcomes and possible neuroanatomical substrate. Abstract accepted for International Symposium on Neural Regeneration, Asilomar, CA.

Nair J, Fox, E.J., Trimble, S., Senesac, C., Tester, N., Howland, D., Behrman, A.(2013). Longitudinal benefits of early intervention with locomotor training on functional and musculoskeletal outcomes in a child with severe incomplete spinal cord injury. Abstract presented in Combined Sections Meeting, American Physical Therapy Association, San Diego, CA.