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Faith Brennan PhD
 Faith Brennan
Assistant Professor
Principal Investigator, Neurotrauma Laboratory
Contact Info
18 Stuart Street

Lab website:

Academic Positions: 

2020-2022: Research Scientist, The Ohio State University, USA

2016-2020: Post-doctoral fellow, The Ohio State University, USA

2011-2015: Ph.D. in Physiology, The University of Queensland, Australia

2010: B.Sc. Hons (Class I) The University of Queensland, Australia

2007-2009: B.Sc. in Medical Science, The University of Queensland, Australia


2023-2024: JP Bickell Foundation Medical Research Award

2023-2024: Mark S. Lodge Spinal Cord Research Award

2023-2024: Banting Research Foundation Discovery Award

2023-2025: Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Pilot Award

2023-2025: Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation Grant

2023-2028: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant

2023-2028: Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund (CFI-JELF)

2021-2023: Chronic Brain Injury Program Pilot Award

2021-2022: Neuroscience Research Institute Grant

2021: EBIC Sir Graham Teasdale Award, International Neurotrauma Society

2020: Post-doctoral Scholar Mentor of the Year Award

2020: Fritz Seil award, International Society for Neural Regeneration

2019-2022: Wings for Life Fellowship

2017-2019: Craig H. Neilsen Postdoctoral Fellowship

2016: Career Development Grant

2015: Research Travel Fellowship

2015: Dean's award for Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis

2011-2015: Australian Postgraduate Award

2011: Establishment Grant

Research Interests:

Please visit our lab website: for project information.

The Brennan Lab is part of the Department of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences (DBMS). Our lab space is situated on the 7th floor of Botterell Hall. The Brennan Lab is actively recruiting students, postdoctoral fellows and Research Assistants with backgrounds in biology, neuroscience, immunology, genomics, bioinformatics, or related sciences who are interested in pursuing further training. 

1. Neuroinflammation after neurotrauma

Trauma to the brain or spinal cord triggers a robust neuro-inflammatory response. The cells involved in this response include tissue-resident glia (e.g. microglia, astrocytes) and infiltrating immune cells (e.g. neutrophils, monocyte-derived macrophages, lymphocytes). Discovery projects in this theme seek to understand how these cells communicate with neurons, each other, and the lesion microenvironment to coordinate tissue repair and recovery of function, or secondary injury pathology and poor injury outcomes.

2. Peripheral complications after neurotrauma

Trauma to the spinal cord can cause morbidity in peripheral systems, particularly in primary and secondary lymphoid tissues. Discovery projects in this theme seek to understand how events and morbidities that impact peripheral immune organs shape outcomes from spinal cord injury, and vice versa.

Selected Publications:

Please visit our lab website: for a full list of publications.

Brennan, F.H., Li, Y., Wang, C., Ma, A., Guo, Q., Li, Y., Pukos, N., Campbell, W.A., Witcher, K.G., Guan, Z., Kigerl, K.A., Hall, J.C.E, Godbout, J.P., Fischer, A.J., McTigue, D.M., He, Z., Ma, Q. and Popovich, P.G. 2022. Microglia coordinate cellular interactions during spinal cord repair in mice. Nature Communications, 13, 4096

Du, Y*, Brennan, F.H.*, Popovich, P.G, and Zhou, M. 2022. Microglia maintain the normal structure and function of the hippocampal astrocyte network Glia, 70:1359-1379 *Co-first authors

Noble, B.T.*, Brennan, F.H.*, Wang, Y., Guan, Z., Mo, X, Schwab, J.M., and Popovich, P.G. 2022. Thoracic VGlut2+ spinal interneurons regulate structural and functional plasticity of sympathetic networks after high-level spinal cord injury.  The Journal of Neuroscience, 42(17):3659-3675 *Co-first authors

Brennan, F.H.*, Noble, B.T.*, Wang, Y.* Guan, Z, Davis, H., Mo, X., Harris, C., Eroglu, C., Ferguson, A.R., and Popovich, P.G. 2021. Acute post-injury blockade of α2δ-1 calcium channel subunits prevents pathological autonomic plasticity after spinal cord injury. Cell Reports, 34(4):108667 *Co-first authors

Freria, C.M., Brennan, F.H., Sweet, D.R., Guan, Z., Hall, J.C., Kigerl, K.A., Nemeth, D., Liu, X., Lacroix, S., Quan, N., and Popovich, P.G. 2020. Serial systemic injections of endotoxin (LPS) elicit neuroprotective spinal cord microglia through IL-1-dependent cross-talk with endothelial cells. The Journal of Neuroscience, 40 (47): 9103-2120.

Carpenter, R.S., Marbourg, J., Brennan, F.H., Mifflin, K.A., Hall, J., Jiang, R., Mo, X., Karunasiri, M., Burke, M., Dorrance, A., and Popovich, P.G. 2020. Spinal cord injury causes chronic bone marrow failure. Nature Communications, 11(3702); 1-13.

Brennan, F.H. and Popovich, P.G. 2018. Emerging targets for reprograming the immune response to promote repair and recovery of function after spinal cord injury. Current Opinion in Neurology, 31(3):334-44

Brennan, F.H., Jogia, T., Gillespie, E.R., Blomster, L.V., Li, X., Nowlan, B., Williams, G.M., Jacobson, El., Osborne, G.W., Meunier, F.A., Taylor, S.M., Campbell, K.E., MacDonald, K.P.A., Levesque, J-P., Woodruff, T.M., and Ruitenberg, M.J. 2019. Complement receptor C3aR1 controls neutrophil mobilization following spinal cord injury through physiological antagonism of CXCR2. Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight, 4(9):e98254.

Brennan, F.H., Kurniawan, N.D., Vukovic, J., Bartlett, P.F., Kasermann F., Arumugam, T.V., Basta, M., and Ruitenberg, M.J. 2016. IVIg attenuates complement and improves spinal cord injury outcomes in mice. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 3:495-511.

Brennan, F.H., Gordon, R., Lao, H.W., Biggins, P.J., Taylor, S.M., Franklin, R.J., Woodruff., T.M., and Ruitenberg., M.J. 2015. The complement receptor C5aR controls acute inflammation and astrogliosis following spinal cord injury. The Journal of Neuroscience, 35:6517-31.