Spinal Cord Injury


Lifestyle Medicine


Nutritional and Dietary Supplement Needs During the Acute and Chronic Stages of Spinal Cord Injury (436533)

Sunday, September 30
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Location: Cortez C

This symposium will review the state of the science regarding nutritional and dietary supplement needs during the acute and chronic stages of spinal cord injury.

Learning Objectives:

Ceren Yarar-Fisher

Assistant Professor
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Yarar-Fisher received her B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation from Baskent University in Turkey and her PhD in Neuromechanics at Auburn University. As a doctoral fellow at Neuromechanics Research Laboratory, she carried out research projects investigating effects of various exercise, rehabilitation and massage interventions on sensorimotor and cardiovascular systems in individuals with and without spinal cord injury (SCI). Her dissertation project focused on the effects of whole body vibration on central and peripheral hemodynamics in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury.

Following her PhD, she joined the UAB Nutrition and Obesity Research Center in the Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology as an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow. She worked under the primary mentorship of Dr. Marcas Bamman in the Core Muscle Research Laboratory. Her research focused on skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations to long-term SCI and acute and chronic bouts of neuromuscular electrical stimulation, the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and adiposity in women with SCI, and the effects of high-intensity exercise and high-protein diet on muscle and whole-body metabolism in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury.

Dr. Yarar-Fisher joined the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in October, 2015 as an NIH-funded KL2 Scholar in Clinical and Translational Science. Her translational research program focuses on understanding the pathophysiology of traumatic SCI in the acute and chronic stages, with the purpose of developing novel nutritional, rehabilitation, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation strategies to improve neurorecovery and metabolism in this population.Her long-term research goals are to improve lives of those with SCI through interdisciplinary rehabilitation research and empower patients with SCI and their healthcare providers to make decisions about acute and chronic care that are meaningful to patients and reflect evidence-based guidelines for this unique population.

Her notable awards include NIDDR Mary Switzer Research Fellowship (post-doctoral award), NIH KL2 Scholar Award in Clinical and Translational Science (Mentored Career Development Award), and NIH NICHD K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award. She served two years as Treasurer and currently serves as Chair-Elect in American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) SCI-Special Interest Group, and is a member of ACRM, Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, American College of Sports Medicine and American Physiological Society.


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Jia Li

Postdoctoral trainee

Dr. Li earned her Masters degree in Molecular Genetics from University of Cincinnati and her PhD degree in Nutrition Sciences from Purdue University (Boiler up!). She is currently a post-doctoral scholar at Rehabilitation Medicine Laboratory at UAB. During her PhD training, she was involved with clinical trials investigating several aspects of dietary components on metabolic health outcomes. She greatly appreciated the applicability of human clinical nutrition research. In the meanwhile, she became interested in exploring the underlying mechanisms. Her current research projects include investigating the effects of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet on body composition, metabolic health, and gut microbiome in patients with long-standing spinal cord injury.


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Jennifer Coker

Research Associate
Craig Hospital

Jennifer Coker, MPH, has worked in the field of traumatic spinal cord injury and brain injury since 1997. Ms. Coker obtained a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in May 2001, where she won the James W Alley Award for Outstanding Service to Disadvantaged Populations. She has presented research at national conferences of the American Spinal Injury Association, American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers, the American Public Health Association, and the American Psychological Association. In addition, Ms. Coker has won several awards for research presentations and publications. She has been a Research Associate at Craig Hospital since April 2012 and works primarily with the TBI and SCI Model Systems projects, and is the Principal Investigator for the Bridge Reinvention project.


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Leslie Morse

Medical Director of Research
Craig Hospital

Dr. Leslie Morse, DO, is Medical Director of Research, Craig Hospital and Associate Professor of PMR, Colorado School of Medicine. She is Co-Project Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Spinal Injury System. Her research, as well as her clinical focus, is the care of individuals with SCI, with a long-term goal of developing mechanism-based therapies to prevent and treat SCI-induced osteoporosis. To that end, she is studying the impact of exoskeleton-assisted ambulation on bone health after SCI (a clinical trial supported by the Department of Defense); and the mechanisms of rapid-onset, SCI-related osteoporosis. She also studies the neuro-regenerative potential of dental pulp stem cells. Dr. Morse completed her medical training at the University of New England and her residency in PM&R at Boston Medical Center. Author of more than 50 publications, she has received several national best-paper awards and presented her work nationally and internationally.


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Nutritional and Dietary Supplement Needs During the Acute and Chronic Stages of Spinal Cord Injury (436533)


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