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Damien P. Kuffler earned his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience, from the University of California, Los Angeles. Subsequently, Dr. Kuffler did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Jan Jansen, M.D., Department of Physiology. School of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway. This was followed by a second postdoctoral study in the laboratory of Dr. Jack McMahan, Department of Neurobiology, Stanford Medical School, Stanford University. From 1984-1990 Dr. Kuffler held the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Biocenter, School of Medicine, University of Basel, Basel Switzerland. Since 1990 Dr. Kuffler has held a position of Professor in the Institute of Neurobiology, Medical School, University of Puerto Rico. The professional career of Dr. Kuffler has been focused around the questions of what makes neurons extend axon, what determines the morphology of those axons, what directs them to their targets, and what induces them to makes synapses with other neurons and muscle fibers.
Morphological studies have also examined the structure-function of synapses by combining electrophysiology and electron microscopy. The focus of this work has shifted to examining how to promote the reestablishment of neurological function, first in vivo animal models and for the 10 years in clinical studies. Clinically Dr. Kuffler has worked to develop techniques that induce functional neurological recovery following traumatic peripheral nerve and spinal cord injuries. An additional clinical area of study is how to eliminate neuropathic pain. Finally, several recent clinical projects involve working with the Gamma Knife Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Dr. Kuffler is collaborating in a project to develop a novel technique to improve the irradiation targeting using the Gamma Knife to minimize irradiation damage, as well as collaborating with the Department of Hyperbaric Medicine to determine whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy might reduce irradiation-induce neurological side effects. A final ongoing clinical project is whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy can enhance the rate and success of axon regeneration.
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