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Romana Vavrek Lecerf


Laboratory: 1 (780) 492-3217



Education and Positions Held

2019 - present: ODC-SCI Data Curator & Project Administrator, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta 

2003 - 2019: Manager in the Fouad Lab, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta

2002 - 2003: Animal Tech Assistant, HSLAS, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada 

1998 - 2002: B.Sc. Specialization in Molecular Genetics - Faculty of Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada  


Rehabilitative training improves skilled forelimb motor function after cervical unilateral contusion spinal cord injury in rats.

Lucas-Osma AM, Schmidt EKA, Vavrek R, Bennett DJ, Fouad K, Fenrich KK. Behav Brain Res. 2022 Mar 26;422:113731. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113731. Epub 2021 Dec 31.


Promoting FAIR Data Through Community-driven Agile Design: the Open Data Commons for Spinal Cord Injury (

Torres-Espín A, Almeida CA, Chou A, Huie JR, Chiu M, Vavrek R, Sacramento J, Orr MB, Gensel JC, Grethe JS, Martone ME, Fouad K, Ferguson AR; STREET-FAIR Workshop Participants. Neuroinformatics. 2022 Jan;20(1):203-219. doi: 10.1007/s12021-021-09533-8. Epub 2021 Aug 4.


Inducing inflammation following subacute spinal cord injury in female rats: A double-edged sword to promote motor recovery. Schmidt E, Raposo P, Vavrek R, Fouad K. Brain Behav Immun. 2021 Mar;93:55-65. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.12.013. Epub 2020 Dec 21.


Self-directed rehabilitation training intensity thresholds for efficient recovery of skilled forelimb function in rats with cervical spinal cord injury. Fenrich KK, Hallworth BW, Vavrek R, Raposo PJF, Misiaszek JE, Bennett DJ, Fouad K, Torres-Espin A. Exp Neurol. 2021 May;339:113543. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2020.113543. Epub 2020 Dec 5.


Single-session cortical electrical stimulation enhances the efficacy of rehabilitative motor training after spinal cord injury in rats. Batty NJ, Torres-Espín A, Vavrek R, Raposo P, Fouad K. Exp Neurol. 2020 Feb;324:113136. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2019.113136. Epub 2019 Nov 28.


Eliciting inflammation enables successful rehabilitative training in chronic spinal cord injury.

Torres-Espín A, Forero J, Fenrich KK, Lucas-Osma AM, Krajacic A, Schmidt E, Vavrek R, Raposo P, Bennett DJ, Popovich PG, Fouad K. Brain. 2018 Jul 1;141(7):1946-1962. doi: 10.1093/brain/awy128.


Pericytes impair capillary blood flow and motor function after chronic spinal cord injury. 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. Nat Med. 2017 Jun;23(6):733-741. doi: 10.1038/nm.4331. Epub 2017 May 1.


Long-term viral brain-derived neurotrophic factor delivery promotes spasticity in rats with a cervical spinal cord hemisection.

Fouad K, Bennett DJ, Vavrek R, Blesch A. Front Neurol. 2013 Nov 19;4:187. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2013.00187. eCollection 2013.


Synthesis, transport, and metabolism of serotonin formed from exogenously applied 5-HTP after spinal cord injury in rats. Li Y, Li L, Stephens MJ, Zenner D, Murray KC, Winship IR, Vavrek R, Baker GB, Fouad K, Bennett DJ. J Neurophysiol. 2014 Jan;111(1):145-63. doi: 10.1152/jn.00508.2013. Epub 2013 Sep 25.


Training following unilateral cervical spinal cord injury in rats affects the contralesional forelimb. Weishaupt N, Vavrek R, Fouad K. Neurosci Lett. 2013 Feb 28;539:77-81. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.01.043. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Locomotion after spinal cord injury depends on constitutive activity in serotonin receptors. Fouad K, Rank MM, Vavrek R, Murray KC, Sanelli L, Bennett DJ. J Neurophysiol. 2010 Dec;104(6):2975-84. doi: 10.1152/jn.00499.2010. Epub 2010 Sep 22.


A TrkB Antibody Agonist Promotes Plasticity after Cervical Spinal Cord Injury in Adult Rats. Fouad K, Vavrek R, Cho S. J Neurotrauma. 2021 May 1;38(9):1338-1348. doi: 10.1089/neu.2009.1116.


Recovery of motoneuron and locomotor function after spinal cord injury depends on constitutive activity in 5-HT2C receptors.

Murray KC, Nakae A, Stephens MJ, Rank M, D'Amico J, Harvey PJ, Li X, Harris RL, Ballou EW, Anelli R, Heckman CJ, Mashimo T, Vavrek R, Sanelli L, Gorassini MA, Bennett DJ, Fouad K. Nat Med. 2010 Jun;16(6):694-700. doi: 10.1038/nm.2160. Epub 2010 May 30.


Dose and chemical modification considerations for continuous cyclic AMP analog delivery to the injured CNS. Fouad K, Ghosh M, Vavrek R, Tse AD, Pearse DD. J Neurotrauma. 2009 May;26(5):733-40. doi: 10.1089/neu.2008.0730.


Transplantation and repair: combined cell implantation and chondroitinase delivery prevents deterioration of bladder function in rats with complete spinal cord injury. Fouad K, Pearse DD, Tetzlaff W, Vavrek R. Spinal Cord. 2009 Oct;47(10):727-32. doi: 10.1038/sc.2009.10. Epub 2009 Mar 3.


Neuronal populations capable of regeneration following a combined treatment in rats with spinal cord transection. Vavrek R, Pearse DD, Fouad K. J Neurotrauma. 2007 Oct;24(10):1667-73. doi: 10.1089/neu.2007.0290.


FGF-2-induced functional improvement from neonatal motor cortex injury via corticospinal projections. Monfils MH, Driscoll I, Vavrek R, Kolb B, Fouad K. Exp Brain Res. 2008 Mar;185(3):453-60. doi: 10.1007/s00221-007-1172-0. Epub 2007 Oct 26.


BDNF promotes connections of corticospinal neurons onto spared descending interneurons in spinal cord injured rats. Vavrek R, Girgis J, Tetzlaff W, Hiebert GW, Fouad K. Brain. 2006 Jun;129(Pt 6):1534-45. doi: 10.1093/brain/awl087. Epub 2006 Apr 21.

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