South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund


Promoting research to develop better understanding of causes and effective treatment strategies for paralysis, sensory loss, and other consequences of spinal cord injury (SCI) and disease.


SCI is a serious and usually irreversible cause of disability. The consequences of SCI are often severe and include paralysis, loss of sensation, loss of control over movement and bodily functions, chronic pain, metabolic disorders, and complications such as uncontrolled blood pressure and frequent infections. People with SCI may face extraordinary demands due to the costs of medical care and rehabilitation and the absence of environmental support. Family members of people with SCI are also affected. The long-term goal of the SCIRF is to minimize the risk and incidence of SCI, interrupt or reverse the process of such injuries, and improve the health and quality of life for residents of South Carolina who have an SCI.

Legislative Background

The South Carolina SCIRF was established by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2000 by amendment (Bill S54 44-38-510) to Section 2, Chapter 38, Title 44 of the 1976 S.C. Code as signed by the Governor on July 20, 2000. The legislation calls for a $100 surcharge to be levied on every South Carolina “Driving Under the Influence” conviction. The proceeds from this surcharge go to the SCIRF and are used to finance SCI research in South Carolina as well as cover basic operation and administrative costs for the SCIRF.


The SCIRF is governed by a seven member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the President of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). It is comprised of two medical doctors from MUSC; two medical doctors specializing or significantly engaged in the treatment of people with SCI in South Carolina; two members who have an SCI or have a family member with an SCI; and one at large medical doctor who is a member of the South Carolina Medical Association.

Administration: Executive Director/Scientific Directors

The SCIRF is attached to MUSC for administrative purposes. Since inception, the SCIRF has had a part time administrator, scientific director and associate scientific director. In 2014 the SCIRF decided to hire a full time Executive Director. Ms. Catherine Leigh Graham transitioned from the Board of Directors to Executive Director in January 2014. Dr. James Krause was appointed as Scientific Director in 2003 and has served continuously for the past 15 years. Dr. Naren Banik was appointed as Associate Scientific Director in 2008 and has served continuously for the past 10 years. The Scientific Directors are involved in all aspects of all research development and implementation including setting goals, developing project invitations to meet goals, and making recommendations based on their reviews to the SCIRF Board of Directors of all such projects received.

Primary Objectives

  • Advance knowledge of SCI repair and regeneration within the South Carolina research community by encouraging physicians and scientists to apply expertise to the SCI field.
  • Foster collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to SCI research among South Carolina hospitals, rehabilitative centers, research universities, and interested organizations.
  • Nurture next generation of SCI researchers through support of young scientists and post-doctoral fellows.
  • Improve the well-being and quality of life of individuals with SCI by research programs that prevent or treat the secondary conditions and consequences of SCI.
  • Set budgets and administer funds for SCI research as mandated by the South Carolina Legislative Act, and assure highest quality of research and commitment by investigators.



Unless otherwise specifically stated, the content on this website is made available by the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund for informational purposes and to promote opportunities for research and collaboration. The Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund, its Board of Directors, Executive Director, and Scientific Directors do not endorse the content of information provided in links.