Gene and Cell Based Therapy

Vadala G, Sowa GA, Smith L, Hubert MG, Levicoff EA, Denaro V, Gilbertson LG, Kang JD. “Regulation of transgene expression using an inducible system for improved safety of intervertebral disc gene therapy.” Spine 1;32(13):1381-1387. 2007. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3180601215. 

Sowa G, Westrick E, Pacek C, Coelho P, Patel D, Vadala G, Georescu H, Vo N, Studer R, Kang J. “In vitro and in vivo testing of a novel regulatory system for gene therapy for intervertebral disc degeneration.” Spine 1;36(10):E623-628. 2011. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181ed11c1.  

Woods, BI, Vo N, Sowa G, Kang JD. “Gene therapy for intervertebral disc degeneration.” Orthop Clin North Am, 42(4):563-574. 2011. doi: 10.1016/j.ocl.2011.07.002. 

Biology of Disc Degeneration

Moon CH, Jacobs L, Kim JH, Sowa G, Vo N, Kang J, Bae KT. “Part 2: Quantitative proton T2 and sodium magnetic resonance imaging to assess intervertebral disc degeneration in a rabbit model.” Spine, 15;37(18): E1113-9. 2012. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182583447.

Nasto LA, Wang D, Robinson AR, Clauson CL, Ngo K, Dong Q, Roughley P, Epperly M, Huq SM, Pola E, Sowa G, Robbins PD, Kang J, Niedernhofer LJ, Vo N. “Genotoxic stress accelerates age-associated degenerative changes in intervertebral discs.” Mech Ageing Dev, 134(1-2): 35-42. 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2012.11.002.

Nasto L, Robison A, Ngo K, Dong Q, Croix C, Sowa G, Pola E, Robbins P, Kang J, Niedernhofer L, Wipf P, Vo N. “Mitochondrial-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a causal role in aging-related intervertebral disc degeneration.” J Orthop. Res, 31(7): 1150-1157. 2013. doi: 10.1002/jor.22320.

Vaudreuil N, Kadow T, Hartman R, Coelho P, Pohl P, Yurube T, Dong Q, Ngo K, Kang J, Vo N, Sowa G. “NSAID use in intervertebral disc degeneration: what are the effects on matrix homeostasis.” The Spine J, 17(8): 1163-1170. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2017.04.012.

Ngo K, Patil P, McGowan SJ, Niedernhofer LJ, Robbins PD, Kang J, Sowa G, Vo N. “Senescent intervertebral disc cells exhibit perturbed matrix homeostasis phenotype.” Mech Aging Dev, 166: 16-23. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2017.08.007.

Biomarker Discovery

Nasto LA, Seo HY, Robinson A, Tilstra J, Clauson C, Sowa G, Ngo K, Dong Q, Pola E, Lee JY, Robbins P, Niedernhofer L, Kang JD, Robbins P, Vo N.  “Inhibition of NF-kb activity ameliorates age-associated disc degeneration in a mouse model of accelerated aging. (Winner of ISSLS Prize in Basic Science).” Spine, 37(21): 1819-1825. 2012. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31824ee8f7.

Nasto LA, Ngo K, Lerne A, Robinson AR, Dong Q, Roughley P, Usas A, Sowa G, Pola E, Kang JD, Niedernhofer LJ, Shapiro S, Vo N. “Investigating the role of DNA damage in tobacco smoke induced spine degeneration.” The Spine J, 19(32): 9-13. 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.034.

Kevin N, Pohl P, Leme AS, Lee J, Di YP, Roughley P, Robbins PD, Niedernhofer LJ, Sowa G, Kang JD, Shapiro SS, Vo N. “ADAMTS-5 deficiency protects mice from chronic tobacco smoking-induced intervertebral disc degeneration.” Spine, 42(20): 1521-1528. 2017. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000002258.

Sowa GA, Perera S, Bechara B, Agarwal V, Boardman J, Huang W, Camacho-Soto A, Vo N, Kang J, Weiner D. “Associations of Serum Biomarkers with Pain and Pain Related Function in Older Adults with Low Back Pain: A Pilot Study.” J Am Geri Soc, 62(11): 2047-55. 2014. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13102.

Dombrowski ME, Olsen AS, Vaudreuil N, Couch BK, Dong Q, Tucci M, Lee JY, Vo NV, Sowa G. “Rabbit annulus fibrosus cells express neuropeptide Y, which is influenced by mechanical and inflammatory stress.” Neurospine. 2020;17(1):69-76. DOI: 10.14245/ns.2040046.023

Vo N, Couch B, Lee J, Sowa G, Kang J, Rebecca S. “Actions of prostaglandins on human nucleus pulposus metabolism inferred by cyclooxygenase 2 inhibition of cytokine activated cells.” Neurospine. 2020;17(1):60-68. DOI: 10.14245/ns.2040050.025


Hartman R, Quan B, Yao N, Bell K, Sowa G, Kang J. “Needle puncture in rabbit functional spinal units alters rotational biomechanics.” J Spinal Disord Tech, 28(3): E146-53. 2015. doi: 10.1097/BSD.0000000000000196.

Hartman R, Yurube T, Ngo K, Merzlak N, Debski RE, Brown B, Kang J, Sowa G. “Biological Responses to Flexion/Extension in Spinal Segmenets Ex-vivo.” J Ortho Res, 33(8): 1255-1264. 2015. doi: 10.1002/jor.22900.

Bell KM, Bechara BP, Hartman RA, Shively C, Frazier EC, Lee JY, Kang JD, Donaldson WF. “Influence of number of operated levels and postoperative time on active range of motion following anterior cervical decompression and fusion procedures.” Spine, 36(4): 263-8. 2011. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181ccc552.

Shroeder A, Rubin JP, Kokai L, Sowa G, Chen J, Onishi K. “Use of adipose-derived orthobiologics for musculoskeletal injuries: A narrative review.” PM&R. 2020. [Epub]


Bell KM, Yan Y, Debski RE, Sowa GA, Kang JD, Tashman S. “Influence of varying compressive loading methods on physiologic motion patterns in the cervical spine.” J Biomech, 49(2): 167-72. 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.11.045.

Bell KM, Debski RE, Sowa GA, Kang JD, Tashman S. "Optimization of compressive loading parameters to mimic in vivo cervical spine kinematics in vitro." J Biomech. 2019;87:107-113. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.02.022.

Wawrose RA, Howington FE, LeVasseu CM, Smith CN, Couch BK, Shaw JD, Donaldson WF, Lee JY, Patterson CG, Anderst WJ, Bell KM. "Assessing the biofidelity of in vitro biomechanical testing of the human cervical spine." J Orthop Res. 2020. doi: 10.1002/jor.24702. [Epub]

Tisherman R, Hartman R, Hairharan K, Vaudreuil N, Sowa G, Schneider M, Timko M, Bell K. "Biomechanical contribution of the alar ligaments to upper cervical stability." J Biomech. 2020;99:109508. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.109508.