Douglas h. smith, m.d.
Director, Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair
Robert A. Groff Professor of Neurosurgery
Vice-Chairman for Research & Education, Department of Neurosurgery
Douglas H. Smith, M.D.. Dr. Smith serves as Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair (CBIR) and is the Robert A. Groff Endowed Professor and Vice Chairman for Research and Education in Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Penn's multidisciplinary CBIR includes over twenty-five principal investigators and their laboratory staff collectively studying mechanisms, diagnosis and potential treatments of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Dr. Smith is also director of a multi-center U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) program grant on mild traumatic brain injury as well as director of multi-investigator NIH and U.S. Department of Defense grants on TBI and neurodegeneration. Demonstrating his dedication to teaching, Dr. Smith additionally oversees an NIH training grant to support post- and pre-doctoral fellows studying brain injury. The research of his individual laboratory has primarily focused on the effects of mechanical stretch of axons that results in either damage or growth. They have found fundamental mechanical mechanisms that underlie selective injury to axons in the white matter during TBI. His group has also identified the aberrant genesis and accumulation of proteins in the damaged axons after TBI that can lead to neurodegenerative changes similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, Dr. Smith’s laboratory has also recently discovered that slow continuous stretching of axon tracts in culture can stimulate enormous growth, creating transplantable living nervous tissue constructs. These tissue engineered constructs have shown promise for repairing large lesions in the nervous system. These collective efforts have resulted in over 160 published reports.