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 NSowa 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. 

Capogna, EA; Brown, E; Walrath, E; Furst, W; Dong, Q; Zhou, CM; Gullbrand, SE; Vo, NV; Sowa, GA; Ledet, EH. ISSLS Prize in Bioengineering Science 2022: Low rate cyclic loading as a therapeutic strategy for intervertebral disc regeneration. European Spine Journal. 2022;31(5):1088-1098. DOI 10.1007/s00586-022-07239-2. PMID 35524071.

Biology of Disc Degeneration

Moon CH, Jacobs L, Kim JH, Sowa GVo 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 NSowa 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 GVo 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.

Wawrose, RA; Couch, BK; Dombrowski, M; Chen, SR; Oyekan, A; Dong, Q; Wang, D; Zhou, CM; Chen, J; Modali, K; Johnson, M; Sedor-Schiffhauer, Z; Hitchens, TK; Jin, T; Bell, KM; Lee, JY; Sowa, GA; Vo, NV. Percutaneous lumbar annular puncture: A rat model to study intervertebral disc degeneration and pain-related behavior. Jor Spine. 2022;5(2):e1202. DOI 10.1002/jsp2.1202. PMID 35783914.

LeVasseur, CM; Pitcairn, SW; Shaw, JD; Donaldson, WF; Lee, JY; Anderst, WJ. The effects of pathology and one-level versus two-level arthrodesis on cervical spine intervertebral helical axis of motion. Journal Of Biomechanics. 2022;133:110960. DOI 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2022.110960. PMID 35074698.

LeVasseur, CM; Pitcairn, SW; Okonkwo, DO; Kanter, AS; Shaw, JD; Donaldson, WF; Lee, JY; Anderst, WJ. In Vivo Changes in Dynamic Adjacent Segment Motion 1 Year After One and Two-Level Cervical Arthrodesis. Annals Of Biomedical Engineering. 2022;50(7):871-881. DOI 10.1007/s10439-022-02964-7. PMID 35397715.

Couch, BK; Patel, SS; Talentino, SE; Buldo-Licciardi, M; Evashwick-Rogler, TW; Oyekan, AA; Gannon, EJ; Shaw, JD; Donaldson, WF; Lee, JY. To Cross the Cervicothoracic Junction? Terminating Posterior Cervical Fusion Constructs Proximal to the Cervicothoracic Junction Does Not Impart Increased Risk of Reoperation in Patients With Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy. Global Spine Journal. DOI 10.1177/21925682221083926. PMID 35285337.

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 JYVo NVSowa 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 JSowa 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

Han Y, Ouyang Z, Wawrose RA, Chen SR, Hallbaum M, Dong Q, Dando E, Tang Y, Wang B, Lee JYShaw JD, Kang JD, Sowa GAVo NN. ISSLS prize in basic science 2021: a novel inducible system to regulate transgene expression of TIMP1. Eur Spine J. 2021 May;30(5):1098-1107. doi: 10.1007/s00586-021-06728-0. Epub 2021 Feb 1. Erratum in: Eur Spine J. 2021 Mar 7;: PMID: 33523281.

Zhong, JB; Chen, J; Oyekan, AA; Epperly, MW; Greenberger, JS; Lee, JY; Sowa, GA; Vo, NV. Ionizing Radiation Induces Disc Annulus Fibrosus Senescence and Matrix Catabolism via MMP-Mediated Pathways. International Journal Of Molecular Sciences. 2022;23(7):4014. DOI 10.3390/ijms23074014. PMID 35409374.


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]

LeVasseur CM, Pitcairn S, Shaw J, Donaldson WF, Lee JY, Anderst WJ. The effects of age, pathology, and fusion on cervical neural foramen area. J Orthop Res. 2021 Mar;39(3):671-679. doi: 10.1002/jor.24663. Epub 2020 Mar 20. PMID: 32167190; PMCID: PMC7487021.

Bailes AH, Navlani R, Koscumb S, Malecky A, Marroquin OC, Wasan AD, Gutstein HB, Delitto A, Zigler C, Vo NSowa GA. Use of healthcare resources in patients with low back pain and comorbid depression or anxiety. Spine J. 2021 Mar 27:S1529-9430(21)00168-6. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2021.03.031. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33785473.


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, LeVasseur 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. 2021 Jun;39(6):1217-1226. doi: 10.1002/jor.24702. Epub 2020 May 4. PMID: 32333606; PMCID: PMC7606317.

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.