With a $1.2 million gift from friends and supporters of former Shepherd Center patient Billy Hulse of Atlanta, Shepherd Center is expanding its research aimed at learning more about the neurobiology of spinal cord injury in people who are undergoing rehabilitation. Led by Keith Tansey, M.D., Ph.D., director of spinal cord injury (SCI) research, neuroscientists in the Shepherd Center Spinal Cord Injury Lab hope to find new ways to increase function and quality of life for people with SCI.
The lab — now called the Betty and Billy Hulse Spinal Cord Injury Lab in honor of Billy Hulse and his wife — will be dedicated in a ceremony on Sept. 11 at Shepherd Center. Scheduled to speak at the event are the Hulses, Dr. Tansey and Atlanta philanthropist Tommy Holder, who helped spearhead the fundraising effort with his wife Beth and the Hulses. In just three months, they exceeded their fundraising goal of $1 million.
The funds will allow the Hulse Spinal Cord Injury Lab to hire additional researchers and buy new equipment that will help researchers secure additional grant funding. Dr. Tansey started the lab several years ago with a small grant that funded equipment needed to get research under way.
“This gift is going to allow us to expand the lab in a way that would not have been possible if we were just going grant by grant,” Dr. Tansey says. “We can hire people sooner, and we will collect pilot data faster, which in turn will help us secure additional grants and publish our work faster. This accelerates our scientific endeavor beyond where we would have been in a typical academic environment.”