Welcome to the Spinal Cord Injury Imaging Research Laboratory (SCIRL)


Our research focuses on the prognosis and treatment of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). We conduct clinical research in a variety of different ways, with a focus on spinal cord imaging. We value local, national, and international collaborations to study important clinical questions in the field of SCI. Ultimately, our lab aims to improve the lives and wellbeing of people with SCI.

Andrew Smith HeadshotAndrew C. Smith, PT, DPT, PhD
Principal Investigator and SCIRL Director

Dr. Andrew C. Smith is a rehabilitation scientist whose primary interest is improving the assessment and clinical management of individuals with spinal cord injury. Dr. Smith’s secondary interest is in the quantification and characterization of skeletal muscle in health and disease states. Current research activities include: using medical imaging to to investigate the extent of spinal cord injury and its impact on motor and sensory function, using magnetic resonance imaging to improve the mechanistic understanding of responsiveness to spinal cord stimulation in individuals with spinal cord injury, and convolutional neural networks to automate segmentation processes of neuromusculoskeletal imaging.

Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus

Email: Andrew.C2.Smith@CUAnschutz.edu

Links to complete bibliography of published work: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=3CRNA2kAAAAJ&hl=en https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1l581LQVlowkn/bibliography/public/

BA, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 
DPT, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 
PhD, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

Wesley ThortonWesley Thornton, PT, DPT, NCS

Dr. Wes Thornton is a PhD student with a research interest in neurological disorders including spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. He graduated with honors from Regis University’s DPT program in 2014, and received the Regis DPT Young Alumnus Award in 2017. In 2014, Wesley was a recipient of the APTA’s Minority Scholarship Award. Wes has presented multiple lectures and in-services both locally and nationally on the care of patients with spinal cord and/or traumatic brain injuries for practitioners in inpatient rehabilitation settings. Wesley is a practicing physical therapist at Craig Hospital, and a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals.

  • Stephanie R. Albin, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT. Regis University School of Physical Therapy
  • Jeffrey C. Berliner, DO. Craig Hospital
  • Julio Carballido-Gamio, PhD. University of Colorado Department of Radiology
  • David Dungan, MD, FACR. Craig Hospital and Radiology Imaging Associates
  • James M. Elliott, PT, PhD, FAPTA. University of Sydney, Kolling Institute
  • Michael Harris-Love, PT, MPT, DSc, FGSA. University of Colorado Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • David R. Howell, PhD. University of Colorado Department of Orthopedics
  • Donglai Huo, PhD. University of Colorado Department of Radiology
  • Denise R. O’Dell, PT, DSc, NCS. University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences
  • Enrico Rejc, PhD. University of Louisville Department of Neurological Surgery, Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center 
  • Zachary A. Smith, MD. University of Oklahoma Department of Neurosurgery
  • Jennifer Stevens-Lapsley, PT, PhD, FAPTA. University of Colorado Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Andrew Q. Tan, PhD. University of Colorado Department of Integrated Physiology
  • Candace Tefertiller, PT, DPT, NCS, PhD. Craig Hospital and University of Colorado Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Ashesh Thaker, MD. University of Colorado Department of Radiology
  • Ken A. Weber II, DC, PhD. Stanford University Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

*This page is updated semi-regularly. For a complete list of publications from the SCIRL Director, please visit:



Smith AC, Angeli CA, Ugiliweneza B, Weber KA, Negahdar M, Mesbah S, Boakye M, Harkema SJ, Rejc E. Spinal cord imaging markers and recovery of standing with epidural stimulation in individuals with clinically motor complete spinal cord injury. Experimental Brain Research. (accepted for publication 10/2021).

Smith AC, O’Dell DR, Albin SR, Berliner JC, Dungan D, Robinson E, Elliott JM, Carballido-Gamio J, Stevens-Lapsley J, Weber KA. Lateral corticospinal tract and dorsal column damage: predictive relationships with future motor and sensory scores at discharge from acute rehabilitation after spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2021.07.792. 

Berliner JC, O’Dell DR, Albin SR, Dungan D, Sevigny M, Elliott JM, Weber KA, Abdie DR, Anderson JS, Rich AA, Seib CA, Sagan HGS, Smith AC. The influence of conventional T2 MRI indices in predicting who will walk outside one year after spinal cord injury. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 2021. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2021.1907676. 

Smith AC, Albin SR, O’Dell DR, Berliner JC, Dungan D, Sevigny M, Draganich C, Elliott JM, Weber KA. Axial MRI biomarkers of spinal cord damage to predict future walking and motor function: A retrospective study. Spinal Cord. 2020. doi: 10.1038/s41393-020-00561-w. 

Rejc E, Smith AC, Weber KA, Ugiliweneza B, Bert RJ, Negahdar M, Boakye M, Harkema SJ, Angeli CA. Spinal cord imaging markers and recovery of volitional leg movement with spinal cord epidural stimulation in individuals with clinically motor complete spinal cord injury. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 2020. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2020.559313.

Smith AC, O’Dell DR, Thornton WA, Dungan D, Robinson E, Thaker A, Gisbert R, Weber KA, Berliner JC, Albin SR. Spinal cord tissue bridges validation study: predictive relationships with sensory scores following cervical spinal cord injury. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation (accepted for publication 7/2021).

Cummins DP, Connor JR, Heller KA, Hubert JS, Kates MJ, Wisniewski KR, Berliner JC, O’Dell DR, Elliott JM, Weber KA, Smith AC. Establishing the inter-rater reliability of spinal cord damage manual measurement using magnetic resonance imaging. Spinal Cord Series and Cases. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41394-019-0164-1.


O’Dell DR, Weber KA, Berliner JC, Connor JR, Cummins DP, Heller KA, Hubert JS, Kates MJ, Mendoza KR, Elliott JM, Smith AC. Midsagittal tissue bridges are associated with walking ability in incomplete spinal cord injury: a magnetic resonance imaging case series. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 2019. DOI: 10.1080/10790268.2018.1527079. 


Smith AC, Weber KA, O’Dell DR, Parrish TB, Wasielewski M, Elliott JM. Lateral corticospinal tract damage correlates with motor output in incomplete spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2018;99(4):660-666. 

Contact Us

13121 East 17th Avenue, 3106
Aurora, CO 80045