Marquette’s College of Health Sciences announced that it received a $500,000 gift from the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation to establish the BRPF Excellence Fund in Spinal Cord Injury Research.
The Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation, located in Waukesha, was formed by alumnus and friend of the college, Bryon Riesch, who was paralyzed in an accident nearly 20 years ago when he was an undergraduate student at Marquette.
The gift will fund research done primarily by Dr. Murray Blackmore, associate professor of biomedical sciences and one of the foremost spinal cord injury neuroscience researchers in the country. Blackmore previously received $50,000 annually in seed funding from the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation that helped in part to lead to multiple R01 research grants from the National Institutes of Health, totaling nearly $4 million in funding.
Blackmore’s research focuses on the use of gene therapy to treat brain cells damaged in spinal cord injuries, leading to nerve growth and regeneration at the injury site. In short, the therapy can reverse some of the paralysis, leading to regained movement and motor control.
“Bryon is a great friend and collaborator, and he understands the importance this kind of funding has to lead to breakthroughs,” Blackmore said. “My team and I are very grateful to Bryon and to the Foundation for helping us continue our work for years to come.”
“We’re very proud to have a long history and tradition of collaboration with the College of Health Sciences and specifically with Dr. Blackmore,” Riesch said. “To see the strides he’s made in research since we’ve known each other, it just made sense to make this investment in his lab, his team and his work.”
“The Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation is very thoughtful in choosing research to fund,” said Dr. William E. Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences and director of the Integrative Neuroscience Research Center at Marquette. “Dr. Blackmore is at the leading edge of his field, and Bryon and the Foundation have been valued friends of the college for many years. On behalf of the college and of Marquette, I’d like to personally thank Bryon and the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation for this generous investment.”