Karim Fouad, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine - Physical Therapy


Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine - Physical Therapy
(780) 492-5971
387 Corbett (E.A.) Hall
8205 - 114 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2G4



Scientific Career:

2018-present: Co-Director, Open Data Commons for Spinal Cord Injury

2016-2023: Canada Research Chair for Spinal Cord Injury (Tier1)

2015-2017: Co-Director, Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute

2008-present: Full Professor

2007-2014: Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Senior Scholar 

2007-2008: Associate Professor, Alberta Heritage Foundation Senior Scholar 

2005-2007: Associate Professor, Alberta Heritage Foundation Scholar 

2001-2005: Assistant Professor, Alberta Heritage Foundation Scholar 

                    Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada 

1997-2001: Research Associate, Brain Research Institute, University and ETH Zürich, 

1995-1997: Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Alberta

1995: Post-Doctoral Researcher, Faculty of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University, Israel 

1991-1995: Ph.D. (Neuroscience), University of Konstanz, Germany 

1986-1991: Diploma (Biology), University of Konstanz, Germany 


2017-2022: Grant from the Canadian Institute for Health Research

2017-2018: Alberta Spinal Cord Injury Research Support Fund 

2016-2019: Grant from the Heart and Stroke Foundation with Ian Winship as Co Applicant

2016-2021: Co-PI on Grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH)

2015-2016: Grant from Conquer Paralysis Now

2015-2017: Grant from Wings for Life (Austria)

2014: Equipment grant from the Alberta Paraplegic Foundation

2013-2018: Co-PI on grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research 

2012-2015: Grant from the International Spinal Research Trust (UK)

2012-2017: Two grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research 

2012: Equipment grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation


Dr. Fouad's research focuses on the promotion of functional recovery after spinal cord injuries by increasing the regenerative and plastic capabilities of the central nervous system.


Karim Fouad, PhD, is a graduate supervisor at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Scholarly Activities

Research - Research Lab

The overall goal of our research is to promote functional recovery following spinal cord injury.

Functional recovery following injuries of the central nervous system (CNS) is limited because severed axons are unable to regrow. This inability to regenerate is caused by various factors including growth inhibitory factors in the central nervous system and intracellular properties of injured neurons. Nevertheless, moderate recovery following brain or spinal cord injuries occurs. The underlying mechanisms for this recovery lies in the ability of spared and injured CNS circuitries to rearrange, generally termed as plasticity. To promote functional recovery following spinal cord injury we are currently focusing on the following two main strategies: 

  1. Trying to understand injury induced plasticity and attempting to enhance this naturally occurring repair mechanism. 
  2. Promoting regeneration of lesioned axons by addressing various regeneration restricting factors in combined treatments.


The methods used in our laboratory range from various experimental approaches to promote plasticity and regeneration, to histological examinations, behavioral tests (sensory and motor), high speed kinematic and in vivo electrophysiological assessments.


Our facilities include a tissue culture area, a histology lab, a darkroom for fluorescence microscopy and a laboratory fully equipped for surgeries and physiological experiments.


Fecal transplant prevents gut dysbiosis and anxiety-like behaviour after spinal cord injury in rats

Author(s): Schmidt EKA, Torres-Espín A, Raposo P, Madsen KL, Kigerl KA, Popovich PG, Fenrich KK, Fouad K
Publication Date: 2020

5-HT1D receptors inhibit the monosynaptic stretch reflex by modulating C fibre activity

Author(s): Lucas-Osma AM, Li Y, Murray KC, Lin S, Black S, Stephens MJ, Ahn AH, Heckman CJ, Fenrich KK, Fouad K, Bennett DJ
Publication Date: 2019

Single-session cortical electrical stimulation enhances the efficacy of rehabilitative motor training after spinal cord injury in rats

Author(s): Batty NJ, Torres-Espin A, Vavrek R, Raposo P, Fouad K
Publication Date: 2019

Neurodevelopmental and Metabolomic Responses from Prenatal Coexposure to Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and Methylmercury (MeHg) in Sprague-Dawley Rats.

Author(s): 5. Reardon AJF, Karathra J, Ribbenstedt A, Benskin JP, MacDonald AM, Kinniburgh DW, Hamilton TJ, Fouad K, Martin JW
Publication Date: 2019

FAIR SCI Ahead: The evolution of the Open Data Commons for preclinical spinal cord injury research

Author(s): Fouad K, Bixby JL, Callahan A, Grethe JS, Jakeman LB, Lemmon VP, Magnuson DSK, Martone ME, Nielson JL, Schwab JM, Taylor-Burds C, Tetzlaff W, Torres-Espin A, Ferguson AR and the FAIR-SCI Ahead Workshop Participants.
Publication Date: 2019

Locomotor-related V3 interneurons initiate and coordinate muscles spasms after spinal cord injury

Author(s): Lin S, Li Y, Lucas-Osma AM, Hari K, Stephens MJ, Singla R, C J H, Zhang Y, Fouad K, Fenrich KK, Bennett DJ
Publication Date: 2018

Eliciting inflammation enables successful rehabilitative training in chronic spinal cord injury

Author(s): Torres-Espin A, Forero J, Fenrich KK, Lucas-Osma AM, Krajacic A, Schmidt E, Vavrek R, Raposo P, Bennett DJ, Popovich PG, Fouad K
Publication Date: 2018

Extrasynaptic ∝5GABAA receptors on proprioceptive afferents produce a tonic depolarization that modulates sodium channel function in the rat spinal cord.

Author(s): Lucas-Osma AM, Li Y, Lin S, Black S, Singla R, Fouad K, Fenrich KK, Bennett DJ
Publication Date: 2018

The role of cAMP and its downstream targets in neurite growth in the adult nervous system.

Author(s): Batty NJ, Fenrich KK, Fouad K.
Publication Date: 2017

Single pellet grasping following cervical spinal cord injury in adult rat using an automated full-time training robot.

Author(s): Fenrich KK, May Z, Torres-Espín A, Forero J, Bennett DJ, Fouad K.
Publication Date: 2017

Pericytes impair capillary blood flow and motor function after chronic spinal cord injury.

Author(s): Li Y, Lucas-Osma AM, Black S, Bandet MV, Stephens MJ, Vavrek R, Sanelli L, Fenrich KK, Di Narzo AF, Dracheva S, Winship IR, Fouad K, Bennett DJ.
Publication Date: 2017

Inhibiting cortical protein kinase A in spinal cord injured rats enhances efficacy of rehabilitative training.

Author(s): Wei D, Hurd C, Galleguillos D, Singh J, Fenrich KK, Webber CA, Sipione S, Fouad K.
Publication Date: 2017

Following Spinal Cord Injury Transected Reticulospinal Tract Axons Develop New Collateral Inputs to Spinal Interneurons in Parallel with Locomotor Recovery.

Author(s): May Z, Fenrich KK, Dahlby J, Batty NJ, Torres-Espín A, Fouad K.
Publication Date: 2017

Enhancing Spinal Plasticity Amplifies the Benefits of Rehabilitative Training and Improves Recovery from Stroke.

Author(s): Wiersma AM, Fouad K, Winship IR.
Publication Date: 2017

Disease-modifying effects of ganglioside GM1 in Huntington's disease models.

Author(s): Alpaugh M, Galleguillos D, Forero J, Morales LC, Lackey SW, Kar P, Di Pardo A, Holt A, Kerr BJ, Todd KG, Baker GB, Fouad K, Sipione S.
Publication Date: 2017

Developing a data sharing community for spinal cord injury research.

Author(s): Callahan A, Anderson KD, Beattie MS, Bixby JL, Ferguson AR, Fouad K, Jakeman LB, Nielson JL, Popovich PG, Schwab JM, Lemmon VP; FAIR Share Workshop Participants.
Publication Date: 2017

Depolarization and electrical stimulation enhance in vitro and in vivo sensory axon growth after spinal cord injury.

Author(s): Goganau I, Sandner B, Weidner N, Fouad K, Blesch A.
Publication Date: 2017

Cyclosporine-immunosuppression does not affect survival of transplanted skin-derived precursor Schwann cells in the injured rat spinal cord.

Author(s): May Z, Torres-Espín A, Lucas-Osma AM, Batty NJ, Raposo P, Fenrich KK, Stykel MG, Führmann T, Shoichet M, Biernaskie J, Fouad K.
Publication Date: 2017

Cortical electrical stimulation in female rats with a cervical spinal cord injury to promote axonal outgrowth.

Author(s): Jack AS, Hurd C, Forero J, Nataraj A, Fenrich K, Blesch A, Fouad K.
Publication Date: 2017

Adult skin-derived precursor Schwann cell grafts form growths in the injured spinal cord of Fischer rats.

Author(s): May Z, Kumar R, Führmann T, Tam R, Vulic K, Forero J, Lucas-Osma AM, Fenrich K, Assinck P, Lee MJ, Moulson A, Shoichet MS, Tetzlaff W, Biernaskie J, Fouad K.
Publication Date: 2017

A motorized pellet dispenser to deliver high intensity training of the single pellet reaching and grasping task in rats.

Author(s): Torres-Espín A, Forero J, Schmidt EKA, Fouad K, Fenrich KK.
Publication Date: 2017

Improved single pellet grasping using automated ad libitum full-time training robot. Behav Brain Res. 2015 Mar 15;281:137-48. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.11.048.

Author(s): Fenrich KK, May Z, Hurd C, Boychuk CE, Kowalczewski J, Bennett DJ, Whishaw IQ, Fouad K
Publication Date: 2015
External Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432814007980

Loss of Npn1 from motor neurons causes postnatal deficits independent from Sema3A signaling. Dev Biol. 2015 Mar 1;399(1):2-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.11.024.

Author(s): Helmbrecht MS, Soellner H, Truckenbrodt AM, Sundermeier J, Cohrs C, Hans W, de Angelis MH, Feuchtinger A, Aichler M, Fouad K, Huber AB
Publication Date: 2015
External Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012160614006125

Challenges of animal models in SCI research: Effects of pre-injury task-specific training in adult rats before lesion. Behav Brain Res. 2015 Sep 15;291:26-35. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.04.058.

Author(s): May Z, Fouad K, Shum-Siu A, Magnuson DS
Publication Date: 2015
External Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432815003228

A critical period for postnatal adaptive plasticity in a model of motor axon miswiring. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 13;10(4):e0123643. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123643.

Author(s): Helmbrecht MS, Soellner H, Castiblanco-Urbina MA, Winzeck S, Sundermeier J, Theis FJ, Fouad K, Huber AB
Publication Date: 2015
External Link: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0123643

Repairing the injured spinal cord: sprouting versus regeneration. Is this a realistic match? Neural Regen Res. 2014 Mar 1;9(5):462. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.130059.

Author(s): Fouad K, Hurd C
Publication Date: 2014
External Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153496/

Training following unilateral cervical spinal cord injury in rats affects the contralesional forelimb. Neurosci Lett, 28;539:77-81

Author(s): Weishaupt N, Vavrek R, Fouad K
Publication Date: 2013
External Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394013000852

Reticulospinal plasticity after cervical spinal cord injury in the rat involves withdrawal of projections below the injury. Exp Neurol, 2013 Sep;247:241-9. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.05.003.

Author(s): Weishaupt N, Hurd C, Wei DZ, Fouad K
Publication Date: 2013
External Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014488613001490

Anatomical correlates of recovery in single pellet reaching in spinal cord injured rats. Exp Neurol, 2013 Sep;247:605-14. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.02.013

Author(s): Hurd C, Weishaupt N, Fouad K.
Publication Date: 2013
External Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014488613000757