Helen M. Bramlett, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery

Helen M. Bramlett, Ph.D.

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
1095 NW 14th Terrace (R-48)
Miami, FL 33136


Research Interests

Areas Of Research



Dr. Helen Bramlett received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, her MS in Psychology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and her MS and PhD degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Miami.  She completed her postdoctoral work in Neurotrauma at the University of Miami and she received a postdoctoral fellowship award from the American Heart Association.

Dr. Bramlett is actively involved in undergraduate teaching and serves as Director of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Program at the University of Miami.  Dr. Bramlett is an internationally recognized scientist with over 20 years’ experience in the field of CNS injury including the pathophysiology and treatment of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury as well as stroke. She is currently funded by NIH, DOD, the State of Florida and the VA. Dr. Bramlett serves on several national review boards and is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Neurotrauma and Translational Stroke Research.  She is the Managing Editor of Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management. She is Editor-in-Chief of Neurotrauma Reports, the Open Access companion journal to Journal of Neurotrauma. She is a founding member of the InflamaCORE, LLC, a company dedicated to treating and diagnosing inflammatory injury and disease.

The Pathophysiology and Treatment of CNS Injury

The main focus of my laboratory is investigating the pathophysiology of traumatic injury leading to the use of therapeutic strategies targeting specific mechanisms of damage. My laboratory focuses on three areas of traumatic research: 1) neuroprotective strategies for traumatic injury, 2) progressive damage after trauma and 3) secondary injury mechanisms of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Our laboratory has been investigating the therapeutic potential of hypothermia for many years. Current studies are involved in clarifying the importance of targeted temperature management and inflammatory markers of secondary brain injury. Models of focal as well as diffuse brain injury are being used to investigate strategies for improving outcomes and reducing vulnerability patterns to secondary insults. We have previously shown that therapeutic hypothermia reduces blood brain barrier breakdown as well as diffuse axonal injury. Most recently, we have determined that hypothermia also modulates the innate immune response through reducing inflammasome activation and subsequent caspase-1 production. We are currently combining therapeutic hypothermia with a novel proneurogenic compound to promote hippocampal neurogenesis and cognitive function. Our long-term goal is to develop these therapies and translate them into TBI patients.

Our laboratory and others have documented in a clinically relevant model of TBI that there is progressive atrophy of brain structures following injury. However, it is unknown what is causing this continued gray and white matter tissue loss. Is it due to the initial injury or are there active processes ongoing that continue to degrade the tissue? Current studies in the laboratory are designed to determine what mechanisms may be contributing to this progressive damage in order to design appropriate treatment strategies to halt this loss.

Another area of active investigation includes the study of posttraumatic seizure activity as a clinically relevant secondary injury mechanisms. Our laboratory has developed strategies for acute and chronic EEG monitoring to assess both convulsive and nonconvulsive seizure patterns after TBI. Previously, we have reported that hypothermia increases seizure threshold and reduces the frequency and severity of posttraumatic epilepsy. New pharmacological treatments are now being tested to target this clinically relevant consequence of injury.


National Neurotrauma Society
Women in Neurotrauma Research
Miami Chapter, Society for Neuroscience
Women in Neurotrauma Research
International Neurotrauma Society
International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
National Neurotrauma Society
Society for Neuroscience
Psi Chi



Modulating Inflammasome Activity and Inflammation in Central Nervous System Injury. Robert W. Keane, Ph.D., W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Ph.D., Helen M. Bramlett, Ph.D. US Patent Application No. 12/182,886