Research interests with collaborative partners

Stem cell therapies for restoration of spinal cord function

Dr. Falci has been working with scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm Sweden for the past 29 years to develop cellular therapies for restoration of spinal cord function. The team's current focus has been the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These cells can be derived from the cells of ordinary tissues of a patient, such as the skin, after manipulation with specific proteins known as transcription factors. Presently, the team is researching the use of iPSCs to obliterate syrinx cavities in those with posttraumatic syringomyelia to both stabilize the cavity and potentially gain function.

Neuropathic Pain Biomarker and Drug Discovery

CNS t-test plot chart from 2019 study

Dr. Falci has been pioneering surgical techniques to eradicate severe spinal cord injury neuropathic pain refractory to all medications while also analyzing human spinal cord neuropathic-pain-producing tissue using techniques of proteomics (cellular protein identification) and transcriptomics (cellular RNA identification) to aid in drug discovery for the treatment of spinal cord injury neuropathic pain. This research has led to an FDA approved drug trial currently underway. Collaborative partners include the University of Minnesota Dept of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Harvard University Dept of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Human-Machine Interface, Brain-Machine Interface Technologies

Dr. Falci has been promoting the development of human-machine interface and brain-machine interface technologies to aid in the function and daily living of those with spinal cord injuries. Through his non-profit Falci Adaptive Motorsports (FAM), he has brought together physicians, engineers, and NASCAR to develop technologies which allow those with a spinal cord injury to gain a lost function with the use of a computer interface and a machine. His nonprofit has led to the development of drive technologies wherein a tetraplegic individual can drive a NASCAR racecar safely around a racetrack using only his or her head and mouth. Current research with the University of Miami will result in the use of brain-machine interface technology to allow a tetraplegic individual drive the same NASCAR racecar safely around a racetrack using “thought”. Although current research and development is with drive technologies, FAM and research collaborators will be working to develop human-machine interface technologies for all functions of daily living a spinal cord individual may need assistance with.

Ricardo Battaglino

Ricardo Battaglino

Dr Ricardo Battaglino is Professor Department Rehabilitation Medicine and Vice Chair of Research Department Rehabilitation Medicine University Minnesota. He obtained his PhD at Mount Sinai Graduate School, CUNY and his Post-Doctoral Fellowship Forsyth Institute. His research focus is the care of individuals with SCI, with a long-term goal of developing mechanism-based therapies to prevent and treat secondary health complications after injury.

Harry Direen

Harry Direen

Dr. Harry Direen earned his Ph.D. in Electronics Engineering/ Control Systems, University of Colorado, 1996 and BSEE, University of California at Irvine, 1982 Areas of expertise include:

  • Electrical / Electronic Engineering including digital, analog and RF circuits
  • Software Engineering and Systems
  • Control Systems including Embedded Control Systems
  • Signal Processing and Sensors

Dr. Direen currently leads the brain-machine interface team of Falci Adaptive Motorsports developing “thought-control” drive systems for adaptive NASCAR racecars for those with mobility impairment.

Joe Garone

Joe Garone

Joe Garone is past president of 2017 NASCAR Cup Champion Furniture Row Racing Race Team, current COO of Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR) with focus in the development of adaptive NASCAR Racecar technology for those with mobility impairments. Mr. Garone and PPIR collaborate closely with Falci Adaptive Motorsports and their programs.

Larry Gold

Larry Gold

Dr. Harry Gold is Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Gold has been active in Biotech since 1981, He was a Founder of Synergen in 1981, the Founder of NeXstar Pharmaceuticals in 1992, and the Founder of SomaLogic in 2000.

Leslie Morse

Leslie Morse

Dr. Leslie Morse, DO, is Chair and Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine. Her research, as well as her clinical focus, is the care of individuals with SCI, with a long-term goal of developing mechanism-based therapies to prevent and treat secondary health complications after injury. Dr. Morse completed her medical training at the University of New England and her residency in PM&R at Boston Medical Center.

Research interests: spinal cord injury and osteoporosis, neuropathic pain, therapies for bone health in SCI, health benefits of exercise in SCI, biomarkers of neurological recovery.

Erik Sundstrom

Erik Sundstrom

Erik Sundström is senior researcher at the department of neurobiology, Karolinska Institutet, co-manager of the KI Stem Cell and Tissue Bank for fetal tissue. Professor Sundstrom‘s current focus is the treatment of post traumatic syringomyelia with induced pluripotent stem cells.

John Swindle, Ph.D.

John Swindle, Ph.D.

President, CEO, and Co-founder of CompleGen, Inc.

Dr. Swindle was Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Tennessee, from 1986 to 1996. He became a member of the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute and Associate Professor in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Washington. In 1999, Dr. Swindle became a member of the Infectious Disease Research Institute (Seattle, WA). Dr. Swindle is trained in and has taught both classical and human genetics. At CompleGen he co-developed and patented the genetic based XenoGene small molecule discovery platform currently used and guided early stage drug candidates through preclinical development. Dr. Swindle also serves as a senior consultant to SomaLogic, Inc. a proteomics company based in Boulder CO. where his duties include the integration of proteomic data and cell biology.

Kowalski, J., Falci, S.,, MiR-338-SP Levels and Cigarette Smoking are associated with Neuropathic Pain Severity in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury: Preliminary Findings from a Genome-wide microRNA Expression Profiling Screen. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2021.

Xu, N., Falci, S.,, Transplantation of Human Neural Precursor Cells Reverses Syrinx Growth in a Rat Model of Post-traumatic Syringomyelia. Neurotherapeutics, April, 2021.

Kowalski, J., Falci, S. ,, G9742 miR-338-Sp as a Biomarker of Neuropathic Pain After Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of Clinical and Transplantational Science. Vol 5, Issue 3, March 31, 2021

Xu, N., Xu, T, Mirasol, R., Holmberg, L., Vincent, P. H., Li, X., Falk, A., Benedikz, Rotstein, E., Seiger, A., Akesson, E., Falci, S., Sundstrom, E. Transplantation of Human Neural Precursor Cells Reverses Syrinx Growth in Rat Model of Post-traumatic Syringomyelia. Neurotherpeutics. Published online 1 Jan 2021.

Scelza, W, Falci, S, et al. Posttraumtic Syringomyelia and Spinal Cord Tethering. Spinal Cord Medicine, 3rd ed., chapter 33. Editor, Kirshblum, Steven, et al. New York, NY:Demos Medical Publishing, 2018.

Falci, S, Indeck, C, et al. Spinal cord injury below-level neuropathic pain relief with dorsal root entry zone microcoagulation performed caudal to level of complete spinal cord transection. Journal of Neurosurgery, Spine. Mar 2018. 1-9. DOI: 10.3171/2017.9.SPINE17373.

Kwilasz, A, Ellis, A,…Falci, S et al. Sustained reversal of central neuropathic pain induced by a single intrathecal injection of adenosine A2A receptor agonists. Journal of Brain Behavior and Immunity. Jan 2018. DOI: 10/1016/j.bbi.2018.01.005

Ellis, A, Grace, P, …Falci, S et al. Morphine amplifies mechanical allodynia via TLR4 in arat model of spinal cord injury. Journal of Brain Behavior and Immunity. 58. Aug 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2016.08.004

Emgård, M, Piao, J…Falci, S et al. Neuroprotective effects of human spinal cord-derived neural precursor cells after transplantation to the injured spinal cord. Journal of Experimental Neurology. Mar 2014. 253: 138-45. DOI: 10.1016/jexpneurol.2013.12.022.Epub 2013 Jan 8.

Ellis, A, Wieseler, J, ….Falci, S et al. Systemic Administration of Propentofylline, Ibudilast,and (+)- Naltrexone Each Reverses Mechanical Allodynia in a Novel Rat Model of Central Neuropathic Pain. Journal of Pain. Jan 2014. 9.pii: S1526-500 (14)00020-0 DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.12.007

Marklumd, U, Alekseenko, Z…Falci, S et al. Detailed Expression of Regulatory Genes in the Early Developing Human Neural Tube. Stem Cells Dev. 2013; 08. DOI: .1089/scd.2013.0309.

Lammertse, D, Jones, L…Falci, S et al. Autologous incubated macrophage therapy in acute, complete spinal cord injury: results of the phase 2 randomized controlled multicenter trial. Spinal Cord. 2012; 09.04 DOI 10.1038/sc.2012.39.

Wieseler, J, Ellis, A…Falci, S, et al. Unilateral T13 and L1 Dorsal Root Avulsion: Methods For A Novel Model of Central Neuropathic Pain. Methods in Molecular Biology. 2012; 851:171-183.

Wallman, L, Åkesson E,…Falci, S, et al. Biogrid – A Microfluidic device for Large Scale Enzyme-free Dissociation of Stem Cell Aggregates. Lap Chip. 2011; 11 3241-3248.

Benison, A, Chumachenko, S…Falci, S. et al. Caudal Granular Insular Cortex Is Sufficient and Necessary for the Long-term Maintenance of Allodynic Behavior in the Rat Attributable to Mononeuropathy. Journal of Neuroscience. 2011;31(17):6317-6328.

Sundberg, M, Andersson PH…Falci, S. et al. Markers of Pluripotency and Differentiation In Human Neural Precursor Cells Derived From Embryonic Stem Cells and CNS Tissue. Cell Transplantation. 2011;20(2):177-191.

Falci S, Indeck C, et al. Surgical Treatment of Posttraumatic Tethered and Cystic Spinal Cords. Spinal Cord Medicine Principles and Practice, 2nd ed., chapter 43. Editor, Lin, Vernon. New York, NY: Demos Medical Publishing, 2010.

Jones L, Lammertse D…Falci, S. et al. A Phase 2 Autologous Cellular Therapy Trial In Patients with Acute, Complete Spinal Cord Injury: Pragmatics, Recruitment and Demographics. Journal of Spinal Cord. 2010.48:798-807.

Weiseler J, Ellis A…Falci, S. et al. Below Level Central Pain Induced by Discrete Dorsal Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of Neurotrauma. 2010;27(9):1697-1707.

Falci, S, Indeck, C, et al. Posttraumatic Spinal Cord Tethering and Syringomyelia: Surgical Treatment and Long-term Outcome. Journal of Neurosurgery, Spine. 2009;11(4): 445-460.

Emgård, M, Holmberg, L…Falci S, et al. Human Neural Precursor Cells Continue to Proliferate and Exhibit Low Cell Death After Transplantation to the Injured Rat Spinal Cord. Journal of Brain Research. 2009;(1278)04.12:15-26.

Åkesson E, Wolmer-Solberg…Falci S, et al. Human Neural Stem Cells and Astrocytes, But Not Neurons, Suppress An Allogeneic Lymphocyte Response. Journal of Stem Cell Research. 2008;06.002(1):56-67.

Åkesson E, Piao J-H…Falci S, et al. Long-term Culture and Neuronal Survival After Intraspinal Transplantation of Human Spinal Cord-Derived Neurospheres. Physiology & Behavior. 2007;(92):60-66.

Lammertse D, Dungan D…Falci S, et al. Neuroimaging In Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: An Evidence-Base Review for Clinical Practice and Research. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 2007;30(3):205-214.

Odeberg J, Wolmer N…Falci S, et al. Late Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) Proteins Inhibit Differentiation of Human Neural Precursor Cells into Astrocytes. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 2007;(85):583-593.

Odeberg J, Wolmer N…Falci S, et al. Human Cytomegalovirus Inhibits Neuronal Differentiation and Induces Apoptosis in Human Neural Precursor Cells. Journal of Virology. 2006;80(18):8929-8939.

Piao J-H, Odeberg J…Falci S, et al. Cellular Composition of Long-Term Human Spinal Cord- and Forebrain- derived Neurosphere Cultures. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 2006;(84):471-482.

Odeberg J, Piao, J-H….Falci S, et al. Low Immunogenicity of In Vitro-expanded Human Neural Precursor Cells Despite High MHC Expression. Journal of Neuroimmunology. 2005;(161):1-11.

Falci S. Surgical Treatment of Posttraumatic Tethered, Myelomalacic and Cystic Spinal Cords. Seminars in Spine Surgery. 2005;17(1):40-45.

Falci S, Best L, et al. DREZ Microcoagulation for Central Pain of Spinal Cord Injury: Operative Intramedullary Electrophysiologic Guidance and Clinical Outcome. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. 2002;97(2):193-200.

Åkesson E, Holmberg L….Falci S, et al. Solid Human Embryonic Spinal Cord Xenografts in Acute and Chronic Spinal Cord Cavities: A Morphological and Functional Study. Experimental Neurology. 2001;170(2):305-316.

Lammertse D, Falci S. Surgical Management of Central Pain in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury: The Dorsal Root Entry (DREZ) Procedure. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. 2001;7(2):41-50.

Åkesson E, Markling L…Falci S, et al. MHC Antigen Expression in Human First Trimester Spinal Cord with Implications for Clinical Transplantation Procedures. Journal of Neuroimmunology. 2000;1:111(1-2):210-214.

Falci S, Best L, et al. Surgical Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Pain Using A New Technique of Intramedullary Electrical Analysis. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 1999;Fall,22:39.

Falci S, Lammertse D, et al. Surgical Treatment of Syringomyelia and Tethered Spinal Cords. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 1999; Fall,22:40.

Falci S, Lammertse D, et al. Surgical Treatment of Posttraumatic Cystic and Tethered Spinal Cords. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 1999;Fall;22(3):173-181.

Seiger Å, Holtz A, …Falci S. Fetal Spinal Cord Grafting in Man. Journal of Neurologic Rehabilitation. 1998;12(4).

Falci S. Progressive Posttraumatic Myelopathies. Colorado Neurological Institute Review. 1998; Spring.

Falci S, Holtz A, et al. Obliteration of Posttraumatic Spinal Cord Cyst with Solid Human Embryonic Spinal Cord Grafts: First Clinical Attempt. Journal of Neurotrauma. 1997;14(11):875-884.

Falci S, Lammertse D, et al. Surgical, Imaging, and Evoked Potential Correlated of Spinal Cord and Rootlet Tethering in Posttraumatic Myelopathies [Abstract]. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 1995; 18:127.

Froelich J, Falci S, et al. Assessment of Cord Tethering by Phase Contrast MR CSF/Flow Analysis [Abstract]. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 1995; 18:127.

Falci S, Best L. Surgical Treatment of Central Deafferentation Pain in Cervical Spinal Cord Injury [Abstract]. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 1995; 18:154.

Falci S, Zwiebel P. Treatment of Refractory Progressive Posttraumatic Cystic Myelopathy with a New Technique: Myelocyst-Omental Grafting [Abstract]. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 1995; 18:154.

Falci S, Rosa L. Use of TSRH Instrumentation in the Management of Spinal Metastases [Abstract]. Neurosurgery. 1992; 30(5):807.

Falci S, Silbergeld D, et al. Effect of Debulking Surgery on Survival in Malignant Astrocytoma [Abstract]. Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery Psychiatry. 1990.

Johnson DL, Falci S. The Diagnosis and Treatment of Pediatric Lumbar Spine Injuries Caused by Rear Seat Lap Belts. Neurosurgery. 1990; 26(3):434-441.

Walsh A, Falci S, et al. Fibrin Glue Facial Nerve Grafting at the Time of Acoustic Neuroma Surgery [Abstract]. Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery Psychiatry. 1990.

Falci S. The Pelvic Nerves Mediating Copulatory and Tail-Pulling Stimuli Which Inhibit Behavioral Estrus in Female Golden Hamsters. Senior Thesis. Princeton University. 1979.

Falci S. Microwave Absorption in Head Using a Six-shell Spherical Model. A report prepared for the National Naval Medical Center Research & Development Command. 1978

Falci S. Effects of Magnetic Fields on Biological Systems. A report prepared for the National Naval Medical Center Research & Development Command. 1978.