Neurology Research and Innovation

From studies at the molecular level to the behavioral level, Neurosciences faculty members are investigating how neurological and neuromuscular disorders and conditions develop and working toward new treatment and prevention options.

Faculty members are developing models of neuromuscular disorders, identifying gene-delivery strategies that cross the blood-brain-barrier and lead to clinical trials, including the first human gene therapy trial for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, phase I clinical trial to target limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D and have led the first national muscular dystrophy newborn screening study.

Neuromuscular Research

Dr. Kevin Flanigan, a distinguished neuromuscular disease researcher, leads the Neuromuscular Disorders clinical program and is the Director of the Center for Gene Therapy at The Research Institute.

Dr. Flanigan also leads the Center of Research Translation in Muscular Dystrophy Therapeutic Development, funded through a Centers of Research Translation (CORT) award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) of the National Institutes of Health.

CORTs are team science programs designed to address translational research challenges in diseases or conditions within the mission of the NIAMS. The program builds on basic research findings with the overarching goal of disease-specific translation.

The SMA Clinic is directed by Dr. John Kissel of the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. In collaboration with the Center for Gene Therapy and OSU, the clinic is actively involved in clinical trials for children and adults with SMA. Our Clinical Research Unit is the only center in the world that has carried out clinical trials in all three major forms of the disease. We have a number of ongoing trials, and many more in planning stages.

We participate in the Families of SMA-sponsored "Project Cure SMA," an international consortium of medical centers performing clinical trials in SMA. We are also part of a select group of 25 national clinical sites that make up Network of Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT). Created by the NIH, NeuroNEXT fosters cooperation among leading clinical sites, allowing them to efficiently design and implement clinical trials encompassing the entire spectrum of neurologic diseases.

Neurosciences Clinical Studies

Clinical researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital are committed to identifying new approaches for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood diseases, taking research discoveries from the lab to the patient's bedside.

Investigators with the Center for Gene Therapy conduct numerous neuromuscular clinical trials including muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy. To learn about enrolling in one, you may call one of our study coordinators at (614) 722-2203. Information about ongoing clinical trials can also be found at, a service of the U.S. National Institutes.

Browse additional Neurosciences research studies being conducted at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Neurosciences Research Areas of Focus

  • Brain Tumors
  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion
  • Additional Neuromuscular Disorders
  • The Heart in Neuromuscular Disease
  • Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center
  • Headache
  • Stroke
  • Epilepsy

Get the Latest News

Anup D. Patel, MD, Awarded Grant from Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation

Jonathan L. Finlay, MB, ChB, FRCP Appointed Director of Neuro-Oncology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Systemic Gene Therapy Holds Promise for Treating Certain Muscular Dystrophies
After success in animal studies with individual muscle therapy, researchers find that delivering the gene to the whole body may be effective as well.

Cannabidiol May Cut Drug-Resistant Seizures in Half
Children with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes experienced improvements in placebo-controlled, double-blind studies.

Pediatric Intracranial Hypertension: A Forgotten Diagnosis?
Thought to be rare, intracranial hypertension may not figure in a clinician’s differential diagnosis for some young patients with vague symptoms. But it should.

How to Reduce ED Visits and Hospital Admissions for Patients With Epilepsy
A quality improvement project with relatively simple interventions resulted in a significant decrease in Emergency Department visits and inpatient admissions, while saving $2 million in health care costs.

Neurophysiological Intraoperative Monitoring Assists in Separation of Conjoined Twins
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Managing Seizures in Schools Instead of the ED
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A Wearable App Helps Track Seizures for Researchers and Families
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Tuberous Sclerosis Insights In Depth
Learn about Dr. Steve Roach’s 2015 Hower Award lecture and download a print version.

Gene Therapy for Sanfilippo Syndrome Shows Promise, Safety and Efficacy
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Batten Disease Clinicians: Ask Families About Sleep Disturbances
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Predicting the Duration of Post-Concussion Symptoms
Specific factors lead to prolonged symptoms, and that knowledge may guide further research, concussion management and family expectations.

Searching for a Pediatric Ischemic Stroke Screening Tool
An adult stroke scale could not reliably distinguish between children with acute ischemic stroke and children with focal neurological deficits due to other causes, but this incompatibility provides insight into potential elements of a pediatric tool.