Doctoral student, Veterinarian
Comparative Biomedical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Hometown: Seaside, OR
As a doctoral student in the Schaffer-Nishimura lab, Sally is part of a multidisciplinary team that works to develop novel optical techniques for in-vivo imaging of the spinal cord. This team is currently developing a system capable of microscopic visualization of the spinal cord in the awake, locomoting mouse. Using a combination of multi-photon excitation microscopy, calcium-triggered fluorescent indicators, and real-time kinematic gait analysis, they will be able to correlate microscopic spinal cord anatomy and electrophysiology with macroscopic neurologic function in a fully conscious, running mouse. This technology will help elucidate mechanisms of spinal cord injury and repair and support the development of targeted therapies to improve functional recovery following neurologic injury and disease. Of particular interest is stem cell therapy, which has demonstrated efficacy in improving outcomes for spinal cord injury and disease in both the laboratory and clinical setting.
When not in the lab, Dr. Ness works as a clinical faculty member in the Large Animal Medicine section in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and has clinical interests in neonatology, infectious disease and stem cell therapy. A desire to develop better treatment regimes for horses with neurologic disease led her to pursue graduate research training in the Schaffer-Nishimura lab, where her studies are partly supported through a fellowship from the Morris Animal Foundation.