Prof. Phillip Popovich

Professor and Chair
Department of Neuroscience
Executive Director, Belford Center for Spinal Cord Injury
Distinguished University Scholar
The Ohio State University

Dr. Popovich has spent his professional career at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. There, he completed his PhD training in Physiology and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) then, as a post-doctoral fellow, Phil was awarded a competitive Sandoz Research Fellowship to support his formal training in immunology and CNS autoimmune disease. After starting his laboratory, Dr. Popovich has been making seminal contributions to the field of neuroscience and is internationally renowned for doing innovative and rigorous research, especially in the sub-disciplines of neurotrauma and neuroimmunology. Presently, he and his team are focused on understanding how SCI-induced dysautonomia contributes to gut dysbiosis and altered immune homeostasis after SCI. This unique research pursuit emphasizes body “systems” and seeks to treat SCI not as a problem of paralysis but as a disease that affects the entire body.

Dr. Popovich is a member of several national and international advisory boards for foundations and organizations that support spinal cord injury research, patient advocacy and policy development.  He also serves on the editorial board of various scientific journals and has served in an advisory capacity for numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Throughout his career, Dr. Popovich has consistently reviewed for or Chaired grant review panels for private national and international foundations and government agencies including providing ad-hoc and permanent peer-review service to the NIH for more than 20 years.

Dr. Popovich has received numerous awards to recognize his scientific accomplishments.  In 2006, he was appointed by Ohio State as the Ray W. Poppleton Research Designated Endowed Chair.  In 2013, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and two years later was appointed as a member of the Faculty of 1000.  Dr. Popovich received the David F. Apple, Jr. Award from the American Spinal Injury Association in 2017 and in 2019 he was awarded an R35 Outstanding Investigator Award from NIH-NINDS that will fund his research program through 2027. 

Dr. Popovich is currently Professor and Chair of OSU’s Department of Neuroscience. He also serves as Director of the Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair and Executive Director of the Belford Center for Spinal Cord Injury. In 2018, he was named a Distinguished University Scholar then in 2022, he was named as the first faculty representative on The Ohio State University Board of Trustees’ Research, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships (RISP) Committee.

A link to his research publications and Google Scholar profile can be found at: (