Neurotrauma Research Program

Scientist looking down a microscope.

The Insurance Commission partners with the Neurotrauma Research Program (NRP) at the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science to find innovative solutions to rehabilitation and care challenges faced by people with catastrophic injuries from vehicle crashes and workplace accidents.

Researchers can apply for Insurance Commission funding for grants to support patient focused rehabilitation research projects for catastrophic injuries.

Insurance Commission Sponsored Projects

Year InvestigatorsProject



Chief Investigator

  • Associate Professor Stuart Hodgetts

Associate Investigators

  • Emeritus Professor Alan Harvey
  • Marcus Giacci
  • Professor Gong Chen


  • Perron Institute
  • The University of Western Australia
  • Penn State University
  • Jinan University

Direct in vivo reprogramming of host astrocytes into functional neurons in the injured spinal cord.

The team aims to reprogram cells that form scar tissue surrounding the spinal cord injury into neurons (nerve cells) that can then potentially form new circuits to bridge the gap and restore function.


Group of people standing in a gym 

Chief Investigator

  • Prof Sarah Dunlop

Associate Investigators

  • Mr Trenton Barrett
  • Mr Peter Woodland
  • Ms Louise Goodes
  • Ms Gabby Simpson
  • Mr Jeff Thavaseelan
  • Ms Carly Hartshorne
  • Mr Matthew Rawlins
  • Dr Duncan McLellan
  • Ms Anne Watts
  • Dr Alethea Rea
  • A/Professor Peter Boan

Clinical Collaborators

  • Dr Emma-Leigh Synnott
  • Mr Johnson M. Paily
  • Ms Sheryl Jonescu


  • The University of Western Australia
  • Fiona Stanley Hospital
  • Royal Perth Hospital
  • Perth Urology Clinic

Early treatment following spinal cord injury (SCI) to prevent urinary tract infection (UTI).

Following a SCI, UTI is common and debilitating, often leading to long-term urological problems. There are currently no evidence-based interventions to prevent early UTI.

UTIs are the single biggest cause of readmission to hospital in Western Australia for people living with chronic SCI.

This project assesses the safety and feasibility of a therapy to biologically restore and maintain the integrity of the bladder lining, which breaks down rapidly following SCI. Due to the bladder breaking down, this renders patients with SCI more susceptible to UTI.


Group of people standing togetherGroup of people standing on grass

Chief Investigator

  • A/Prof Jennifer Rodger

Associate Investigators

  • A/Prof Stuart I. Hodgetts
  • Prof Alan R. Harvey

Lab Members

  • Dr  Alex Tang
  • Mr Darren Clarke
  • Ms Kerry Leggett
  • Mr Dan Binks
  • Ms Marissa Penrose-Menz
  • Ms Jessica Moretti
  • Ms Lianne Jiang
  • Ms Katherine Hankinson
  • Ms Bhedita Seewoo
  • Dr Alesha heath


  • The University of Western Australia
  • Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science

Assessing the effects of repetitive transcrannial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) training on functional recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI).

Previously repetitive rTMS has been used to induce cortical plasticity in the brain resulting in moderate improvements in functional recovery of the affected forelimbs after cervical SCI in a laboratory setting with a test animal.

This project will reinforce or strengthen such plasticity related effects by using rTMS (after an SCI), at the same time as other training protocols, to further enhance excitability in the motor/sensorimotor cortex, producing even greater functional forelimb improvements.


Michael Rosenberg

Chief Investigator

  • A/Prof Michael Rosenberg

Associate Investigators

  • Dr Ann-Maree Vallence
  • Dr Jennifer Rodger
  • A/Prof Chris Etherton-Beer
  • Dr Alex Shaykevich


  • The University of Western Australia
  • Murdoch University
  • Royal Perth Hospital

A music-based gait entrainment instrument for acquired brain injury rehabilitation.

This project focuses on stimulating locomotory movement in people with acquired brain injuries by using a mobile application that plays music and triggers pressure sensors on the foot.

This project tests the efficacy of the application to improve gait during rehabilitation exercises and to deliver improvements to patients’ neurological and functional outcomes.


Group of people standing in front of a building

Chief Investigator

  • Adj A/Prof Bruno Meloni

Associate Investigators

  • Prof Neville Knuckey
  • A/Prof Stuart Hodgetts
  • Dr Jane Cross


  • Perron Institute of Neurological and 
    Translational Science
  • Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
  • The University of Western Australia

Pre-clinical assessment of a peptide to reduce central nervous system injury following neurotrauma.

Certain peptides can protect the brain’s neural pathways following an injury.

The project assesses the neuro-protective potential of a peptide to reduce brain damage in neurotrauma-related injuries.

Read more about the NRP.