Today, there is no cure or any meaningful therapies available for the 250,000 to 500,000 new people per year worldwide who suffer the life-altering consequences of spinal cord injury (WHO, 2013).

Yet, it is widely agreed that the world’s greatest scientists and technologists can move meaningful therapies from their labs to the clinic within the next five years.

The problem is that the breakthroughs that will treat spinal cord injury are held hostage in the minds and labs of these spectacular researchers due to pressures and systems taking their time out of the lab.

Our Approach

At the Mark Pollock Trust we want to disrupt the standard research model by supporting our collaborators to cut through factors that cause them to spend up to 80% of their time outside the lab, like chasing money and performing administrative duties. By removing these time-heavy tasks from scientists’ work weeks, we will enable them to allocate their valuable time more effectively and carry out better research, faster. And, it will give them to space to collaborate across disciplines and with others working in the field around the world.

So, we want to raise $2 million to create a hub of experts in the areas of strategic planning, research funding, program management, government relations and international coordination. This hub will support a radical rethink of how scientists and technologists run their labs, and give them back more time to spend on their individual scientific research, and to collaborate with others.

Disruption milestones

2017

Undertaking research in our lab

Completed a 50-subject study of spinal cord excitability in a group of 25 healthy subjects and 25 paralysed subjects in Trinity College Dublin.

A picture of a set of Ekso Bionics robotic legs placed on a bench

2016

Bringing scientists and industry together to progress the search for a cure

Launched a US-European Ekso Bionics robotics study with multiple subjects and industry involvement.

A picture of Mark walking in Ekso Bionics robotic legs in Trinity College Dublin

2015

Creating ongoing trans-atlantic research collaborations

Mark Pollock Trust creates ongoing trans-atlantic research collaborations between Trinity College Dublin and UCLA.

Mark with his training partner Simon O’Donnell, his fiancée Simone George, sitting around a table having a discussion with a group of scientists at the Science Gallery, Dublin

Working with groundbreaking technology & data to fast-track a cure

Developed ongoing academic and industry research programmes with Microsoft, Imperial College London and University College London

2014

Creating a first of its kind pilot study

A clinical trial at UCLA marries transcutaneous spinal electrical stimulation with the Ekso Bionics exoskeleton, meaning that Mark became the first person in the world with chronic complete paralysis to regain enough voluntary control to actively take steps in a robotic exoskeleton.

2013

Building research collaborations with leading scientists

Built research collaborations with scientists including the world’s leading authority on electrical stimulation at UCLA, Professor V. Reggie Edgerton, and with Ekso Bionics.

A picture of Mark’s back marked with black pen along his spine and the hands of a scientist attaching electrodes to it so he can be electrically stimulated

2012

Stress testing the early designs of Ekso Bionics robotic legs

Mark Pollock is the world’s leading test-pilot of this exoskeleton

This is an infographic which explains how fundraising money is spent on scientific research. If you click the link, it will bring you to the donate page.