NASS Funded Research

NASS strives to be a leading force in promoting and supporting spine research. Since its inception in 1989, NASS has funded over $3.8 million in multidisciplinary research.​ NASS relies on the generosity of its donors to provide funding in support of the highest quality, peer-reviewed research. ​​

NASS supports basic, clinical and translational science.

The goal is to improve quality spine care for patients and understanding of underlying disorders. One way to achieves these goals is by funding grants and fellowships.

Types of Funding

Funding amount and number of grants are at the discretion of the NASS Research Project Management Committee based upon merit of applications and amount of funding available each year. It is recommended that approved grant budgets not exceed $50,000 per year.

Research Grants: Provide funding for promising research projects by qualified investigators in the field of spine.

Young Investigator Grants: One to two grants may be awarded each year. Principal investigators may be any age. MD applicants must be within five years of completion of training at the time of application; PhD applicants must be within five years of their post-doc training. Applicants may not have received previous grant funding from the NASS Research Project Management Committee.

Nontraditional, Nonsurgical Treatments Grants: The result of a donation to research as part of the settlement of a class action lawsuit unrelated to NASS. This grant supports research of discrelated and/or neuropathic back pain by nonsurgical techniques. These funds must be used for new, nontraditional methods of nonsurgical treatment of such back and neck pain and radiculopathy. If TNF-inhibitors other than etanercept are used in research and/or treatment funded, comparison studies using perispinal etanercept in at least as many research subjects or patients should be done.

Clinical Traveling Fellowship: The Clinical Traveling Fellowship spans at least one month to be spent in three to five different medical centers studying spine techniques. The centers selected by the applicant should agree in writing to accept the applicant if he/she receives the Fellowship. The Fellowship primarily covers the costs of travel and housing and typically ranges from $3,000-$7,000.

Research Traveling Fellowship: Spans at least five months at one medical center (other than the facility at which the applicant currently practices). The center selected by the applicant should have appropriate research facilities agree in writing to accept the applicant if he/she receives the Fellowship. The Fellowship primarily covers the costs of travel and housing and typically ranges from $3,000-$7,000. If funding for the actual research project is needed, please apply for one of the research grants.

NASS Funded Research



2015

Do human annulus cells actively try to repel nerve ingrowth into the disc? (Year 2 of Funding)

Helen E. Gruber, PhD; H. James Norton, PhD; Edward N. Hanley, Jr., MD

Treatment with the NFkB Inhibitor Nemo-Binding Domain Peptide to Inhibit Disc Degeneration

Juliane Glaeser, PhD; Hyun Bae, MD; Dmitriy Sheyn, PhD

Development of a Virtual Reality Graded Exposure Intervention for Chronic Low Back Pain

Zina Trost, PhD; Christopher France, PhD; Francis Keefe, PhD; John Licciardone, DO

2014

Effects of Diabetes and Diet on Spinal Pathology (Basic)

James C. Iatridis, PhD; Andrew C. Hecht, MD; Sheeraz A. Qureshi, MD; Helen Vlassara, MD; Svenja Illien-Juenger, PhD

The Comparative Effectiveness of Reduced Patient Copayments and Bundled Provider Reimbursement as Agents of Behavior Change During Low Back Pain Rehabilitation in the Outpatient Physical Therapy Setting (Translational)

Joel Stevans, DC, PhD; Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA; Dino Rovito, PT, MS; Lauren Terhorst, PhD

The Impact of Type 2 Diabetes on Bone Metabolism and Growth after Spinal Fusion (Young Investigator-Basic)

Melodie Metzger, PhD; Viorica Ionut, MD, PhD; Rick Delamarter, MD

Nociceptive Response in Rats with Metastatic Spine Disease Derived from Human Mammary Adenocarcinoma (Young Investigator-Basic)

Rachel Sarabia-Estrada, DVM, PhD

The Role of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells and T-Lymphocytes in Human Vertebral Metastasis: A Prospective Pilot Study (Young Investigator-Translational)

David Bumpass, MD; Roberta Faccio, PhD

Importance of Spinal Muscle Function on Intervertebral Disc and Facet Joint Health (Young Investigator-Basic)

John M. Popovich, Jr., PhD, DPT

The Roles of β-catenin and Chemokine Receptor CCR1 in Macrophage Infiltration and MMP Expression during Disc Degeneration (Basic)

Di Chen, MD, PhD; Ana Chee, PhD

Chronic Lumbosacral Radiculopathy: Impact of a Dietary Intervention on Pain and Function (Nontraditional, Nonsurgical Treatment)

Kevin Carneiro, DO; Susan A. Gaylord, PhD

2013

Cryopreserved Stem Cell-derived Live Bone Mimics for Superior Spinal Arthrodesis

Carl Gregory, PhD; Chris Chaput, MD; Ulf Krause, MD

Deciphering the Role of Annulus Fibrosus Cells in Neuronal Ingrowth into Collagen Matrices

Adam H. Hsieh, PhD; Sameer B. Shah, PhD

The Role of BMP9 in Regulating the Proliferation and Survival of the Intervertebral Nucleus Pulposus Cells (NPCs)

Tong-Chuan He, PhD, MD

Inhibition of ADAM-8 (a Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase-8) to Delay Intervertebral Disc Degeneration)

Yejia Zhang, MD, PhD; Howard S. An, MD

Do Human Annulus Cells Actively Try to Repel Nerve Ingrowth into the Disc?

Helen E. Gruber, PhD; Edward N. Hanley, Jr., MD; H. James Norton, PhD

Overpressure Induced Spinal Neuronal and Glial Reactivity Changes

Srinivasu Kallakuri, PhD; John M. Cavanaugh, MD

Inflammatory Nano-Fullerene Replace Steroids for Treatment of Disc Degeneration?

Xudong Joshua Li, MD, PhD; Li Jin, MD, PhD

2012

Stem Cell Based Intervertebral Disc Regeneration-Evaluation in Organ Culture

Mauro Alini, PhD; Sibylle Grad, PhD

Mechanistic Determination of Notochordal Cell-Induced Anti-Apoptotic Signaling in Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells

K. Arne Mehrkens, MD; W. Mark Erwin, DC, PhD; Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD

Does Diabetes Cause Intervertebral Disc Degeneration?

Jeffrey C. Lotz, PhD; Lionel Metz, MD

A Prospective Clinical Audit Measuring the Impact of Shared Decision Making Aids on Cost Variation for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Degenerative Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Within a Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model

Thomas D. Cha, MD, MBA; Joseph H. Schwab, MD; Christopher M. Bono, MD; Steven J. Atlas, MD; Karen R. Sepucha, PhD; Timothy G. Ferris, MD, MPH; James P. Rathmell, MD; Kirkham B. Wood, MD

2011

Correlation of Clinical Outcome after Lumbar Fusion with Intradiscal Cytokine Expression and a Novel Assay System

D. Greg Anderson, MD; Dessislava Markova, PhD; Christopher K. Kepler, MD, MBA

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in the Management of Acute Post-Spine Surgery Pain: A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial

Jeffrey Borckardt, PhD; John Glaser, MD; Scott Reeves, MD

Biological Repair of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration-Year Two

Fackson Mwale, PhD; John Antoniou, MD, PhD, FRCSC; Peter J. Roughly, PhD

Defining the Role of the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) Stress and the UPR in Spinal Cord Injury

Claudio Hetz, PhD; Felipe Court, PhD

2010

Stem Cell Based Intervertebral Disc Regeneration - Evaluation in Organ Culture

Mauro Alini, PhD; Sibylle Grad, PhD

Treatment of Disc Degeneration by Nano-fullerenes

Xudong Li, MD, PhD; Xinlin Yang, PhD; Adam Shimer, MD

2009

Neuroprotective Approaches to Enhance Recovery in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Yu WR, Lee J, Liu T, Satkunendrarajah K, Kiehl TR

2008

Intervertebral Disc Regeneration from Co-cultured Disc and Stem Cells in Biomimetic Engineered Extracellular Matrix Stimulated by Mechanically Active Bioreactor

Young Investigator Wan-Ju Li, PhD; Paul Anderson, MD

Novel Scaffold Using Human Adipose-derived Stromal Cells

Young Investigator Francis H. Shen, MD

Defining the Abnormal Kinematics of Lumbar Spine Instability as a Cause of Degenerative Low Back Pain-A Biomechanical Study of the Kinematics of Cadaver Lumbar Spine

Dilip K. Sengupta, MD

2007

Young Investigator: Percutaneous Gene-Delivery Mediated Intervertebral Body Fusion

Matthew E. Cunningham, MD, PhD; Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD, Chisa Hidaka MD, Bernard Rawlins MD

In-vivo Spine Biomechanics: Application of an Innovative Combined MR and Dual Fluoroscopic Imaging Technique

Kirkham B. Wood, MD; Guoan Li, PhD

Biological Repair of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration-Year One

Fackson Mwale, PhD; John Antoniou, MD, PhD; Peter Roughley

Proinflammatory Cytokine Profile of Intervertebral Disc Tissues from Patients with Discogenic Axial Back Pain Confirmed by Discography

Yejia Zhang, MD, PhD; D. Greg Anderson, MD

2006

Cell Senescence and the Human Intervertebral Disc

Helen E. Gruber, PhD; Edward N. Hanley, Jr., MD; H. James Norton, PhD

Local Delivery of Small Inhibitory RNA (siRNA) and Radiation Therapy to Treat Metastatic Spine Tumors

Daniel M. Sciubba, MD; Ziya Gokaslan, MD, FACS; Theodore L. DeWeese, MD

The Regulation of Gene Expression by Compressive Stress in the Nucleus Pulposus

Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD; James Kang, MD; Patrick Smolinski, PhD

The Minimal Clinically Important Difference (MCID) for Spinal Disorders: Finding the Threshold of Clinically Significant Change

Vedat Deviren, MD; Sigurd Berven, MD

2005

Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cell Injection for Treatment of Intervertebral Disc Degeneration

James D. Kang, MD; Lars Gilbertson, PhD; Gianluca Vadala, MD; James W. Larson III, MD

C Fiber and Type II A-S Fiber Neurons Mediate Neuropathic Pain

Jian-Guo Cui, MD, PhD; Gabriel Tender

2004

Developmental Therapeutic for Disc Abnormalities in a Mouse Model

Xudong Li, MD, PhD; Frank Shen, MD; Gary Balian, PhD

Prospective Cohort Study of the COMT val 158 met Genotype and Outcome from Surgery for Degenerative Disc Disease

David H. Kim, MD; Louis G. Jenis, MD; Robert J. Banco, MD; Mitchell Max, PhD

Effects of Spine Surgery on Paraspinal Musculature

Richard G. Fessler, MD, PhD; Frederick D. Brown, MD; Edward D. Wirth, MD, PhD

2003

The role of the p75 Neurotrophin Receptor in the Death of Neurons and Glia after Spinal Cord Injury

Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC

Fatty Acid Mediated Transfection of Potentially Therapeutic Genes in Human Intervertebral Disc Chondrocytes

Paul A. Anderson, MD; Ronjon Paul, MD; Wilmot Valhmu, PhD; Thomas

Tumor/stromal Interactions in a Bone Marrow Precursor Derived Bone Model of Metastatic Spinal Disease

James M. Schuster, MD, PhD

2002

Early vs. Later Decompression of Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries with Spinal Cord Compression

John B. Sledge III, MD; David G. Anderson, MD; Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC; Alexander R. Vaccaro, MD

SOX9-Mediated Gene Therapy in a Degenerative Disc Model

Frank M. Phillips, MD; Rex C. Haydon, MD, PhD

BMP-Transduced Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Spine Fusion

Tong-Chuan He, MD, PhD; Rex C. Haydon, MD, PhD; Frank M. Phillips, MD

2001

Integrin Medicated Mechanotransduction of Cyclic Hydrostatic Pressure in Rabbit Intervertebral Disc Cells Cultured In Vitro

Albert JM Yee, MD, MSc, FRCS(C)

Deformation Characteristics of the Vertebral Pedicle During Pedicle Screw Insertion: Characteristics of Deformation During Insertion of Tapered and Cylindrical Screws

Robert F. McLain, MD; Brian K. Bay, PhD; Lisa A. Ferrara, MS; Edward C. Benzel, MD

Localized Trabecular Damage Adjacent to Interbody Fusion Devices and Its Effect on Construct Stability

Dwight T. Davy, PhD; Karen E. Warden, PhD Candidate

2000

Human Intervertebral Disc Cell Attachment, Proliferation and Matrix Production In Vitro: Experimental Studies with Selected Cell Carriers for Tissue Engineering

Helen E. Gruber, PhD; Edward N. Hanley, Jr., MD

Intratransverse Process Arthrodesis: Efficacy of DC Stimulation in Nicotine Exposure Model

John C. France, MD; Timothy L. Norman, PhD

*The Effect of Anterior Wedge Fracture and Subsequent Augmentation on the Mechanical Stability of the Osteopenic Thoraco-Lumbar Spine

Ron N. Alkalay, PhD; Brian D. Snyder, MD, PhD

*Abstracts/permission forms not received at the time of publication

1999

Gene Gun-Mediated Gene Transfer of Osteogenic Protein-1 (OP-1) to Promote Regeneration on the Intervertebral Disc in Rabbits

Howard S. An, MD; Steven C. Chang, MD; Koichi Masuda, MD; Gunnar BJ Andersson, MD, PhD; Eugene J-MA Thonar, PhD

Biochemical Effects of Laminoplasty, Laminectomy and Discectomy: Stenosis and Stability

N.R. Crawford, PhD; N. Theodore, MS, MD; V.K.H. Sonntag, MD; C.A. Dickman, MD; R.H. Chamberlain; S. Baek; S. Safavi-Abbasi; M. Senoglu; V. Subramaniam

Tissue Engineering for the Intervertebral Disc: Research with the Sand Rat Model

Helen E. Gruber, PhD; Edward N. Hanley, Jr., MD

The Effects of Doxorubicin on Spinal Fusion: An Animal Model

Joseph M. Kowalski, DC, MD; John G. Heller, MD; Hideki Murakami, MD; Steven C. Ludwig, MD; Tim Yoon, MD, PhD

1998

The Effect of Regional Gene Therapy with Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Producing Bone Marrow Cells on Spinal Fusion in Rats

Jeffrey C. Wang, MD; Jay R. Lieberman, MD

Stimulated Autologous Macrophages in Spinal Cord Injury

Volker KH Sonntag, MD; Frederick F. Marciano, MD, PhD; Nicholas Theodore, MD, MS; Sam P. Javedan, MD

In Vitro Models for Intervertebral Disc Tissue Engineering

Richard M. Ozuna, MD; Myron Spector, PhD; Sonya Shortkroff, MS; Dawn M. Hastreiter, SM

The Natural History of Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis: Age 5 to Late 40s

Bruce E. Fredrickson, MD; Albert M. Murtland, MD; D. Baker; C. Sweeney; WJ Beutler, MD, FACS

Cyclic Failure of Multi-Segmental Pedicle Screw Systems

Scott A. Yerby, PhD; Eugene J. Carragee, MD; J. Sun; D. Kim; DR Carter

1997

*Molecular and Cellular Effects of Nicotine on Posterior Lumbar Spine Fusion

Michael A. Morone, MD, PhD; Scott D. Boden, MD; Edward C. Benzel, MD

Five Year Outcomes of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Surgery

Jeffrey N. Katz, MD, MS; Steven J. Lipson, MD; Leon Grobler, MD; ME Husni, MD; AH Fossel; Gregory W. Brick, MD

Anti-Apoptotic Effects of IGF-1 and PDGF on Human Intervertebral Disc Cells In Vitro

Helen E. Gruber, PhD; Edward N. Hanley, Jr., MD; HJ Norton, PhD

Real Time In Vivo Loading in the Baboon Lumbar Spine Using an Interbody Implant Load Cell

Barton L. Sachs, MD; John B. Brunski, PhD; Eric H. Ledet, MS; Charles E. Gatto, MD

*Abstracts/permission forms not received at the time of publication

1996

Gene Expression During Posterolateral Lumbar Spine Fusion: Effect of BMP-2

Scott D. Boden, MD; Michael A. Morone, MD, PhD; G Martin, MD; G Hair, PhD; M Racine

Spine Fusions with Tissue Engineered Scaffoldsc

Kenneth J. Kopacz, MD; Ken S. James, PhD; Joachim B. Kohn, PhD; JR Parsons, PhD

*Enhancement of Drug Delivery by Hypertonic Saline Solution Following Spinal Cord Injury

William F. Young, MD; Ronald F. Tuma, PhD; Usha S. Vasthare, PhD

Localization, Reproducibility and Dosimetry for Spinal Radiosurgery

Antonio AF De Salles, MD, PhD ; Timothy D. Solberg, PhD ; Paul M. Medin, MS

*Abstracts/permission forms not received at the time of publication

1995

The Role of Cultured Schwann Cell Grafts in the Repair of Gaps Within the Peripheral Nervous System of Primates

Allan D. Levi, MD, PhD, FRCS(C); Michael E. Berens, PhD; Curtis A. Dickman, MD ; Volker KH Sonntag, MD; JP Mather, PhD; RH Li, PhD; S Cordova; B Bichard

Relationship Between Pain and Vertebral Motion: A Neural Net Analysis

Drew A. Bednar, MD, FRCS, FAAOS; James Dickey, MSc; Michael R. Pierrynowski, PhD; Victoria Galea, PhD; SX Yang

Does Sagittal Pedicle Screw Insertion Angle Influence Axial Compressive Strength of the Construct?

Peter M. Stutz, MD; Steven R. Garfin, MD; Jennifer B. Massie, MS; Vijay J. Goel, PhD; Christopher M. Bono, MD; P Yuan; JD Clausen; T Selz; JL Scifert

1994

Effects of Intradiscal Proliferant Solutions on Fibroplasia Growth

Vert Mooney, MD; Jennifer B. Massie, MS ; Steven R. Garfin, MD ; CS Yu

Combined Spinal Surgery and Tertiary Rehabilitation: A Prospective Evaluation Study of Treatment Efficacy

Tom G. Mayer, MD; Robert J. Gatchel, PhD; P McMahon, BA; B Sparks, MA; P Pegues, RN

1993

Astrocyte Response and Transforming Growth Factor-B Localization in Acute Spinal Cord Injury

Michael E. Joyce, MD; Michael F. O’Brien, MD ; Lawrence G. Lenke, MD ; Keith H. Bridwell, MD; J Lou

Lumbar Spinal Instability: A Correlation Between Biomechanical, MRI and Anatomic Properties of the Motion Segment

Howard S. An, MD; Tae-Hong Lim, PhD; Victor M. Haughton, MD; Bruce H. Nowicki, BS; JH Hong; L You; H Yoshida

*The Effect of Surgical Removal and Storage on the Hydration and Material Properties of the Intervertebral Disc

Jeffrey C. Lotz, PhD

*Abstracts/permission forms not received at the time of publication

1992

Monitoring of Motor Tracts with Spinal Cord Stimulation

Siavash S. Haghighi, DVM, PhD; John J. Oro, MD; Robert W. Gaines, MD; Donald H. York, PhD

*Biomechanical, Functional and Subjective Comparisons Between Halo Vests

Martin H. Krag, MD

*Spinal Stenosis Research Grant

Stephen I Esses, MD/Committee on Scientific Research

*Abstracts/permission forms not received at the time of publication

1991

Determination of the Ideal Strain for Lumbar Fusions: Biomechanical Validation of a Finite Element Model of the Sheep Spine

Bruce E. Fredrickson, MD; WT Edwards, MD; Lisa A. Ferrara, MA; CY Zhang; M Itoh; Hansen A. Yuan, MD

1990

Vertebral Osteophytes: An Experimental Animal Model

Casey K. Lee, MD; Monica Vuono-Hawkins; Noshir A. Langrana, PhD; MC Zimmerman; JR Parsons/

1989

*Biomechanical Assessment of Segmental Pedicle Screw Fixation of the Spine

John P. Kostuik, MD

*Reactive Research Facility

James N. Weinstein, DO, MS

*Abstracts/permission forms not received at the time of publication