Photo of Stephen A. Back, M.D., Ph.D.

Stephen A. Back M.D., Ph.D.

  • (503) 346-0640
    • Professor of Pediatrics School of Medicine
    • Clyde and Elda Munson Professor of Pediatric Research Pediatrics School of Medicine

The Back Lab focuses on the development of novel strategies to promote regeneration and repair of injury to the developing brain. The lab studies mechanisms by which hypoxia-ischemia triggers cerebral white matter injury, the major cause of cerebral palsy (CP) in survivors of preterm birth. We focus on the oligodendrocyte lineage, as well as several other key cellular components of the white matter. We use several complementary approaches that employ human tissues, tissue culture systems and unique animal models. We also extend these developmental observations to define mechanisms of white matter injury in adult CNS in disorders that include multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.


  • M.D., University of California at Davis School of Medicine 1990
  • Residency:

    • University of California, Irvine Medical Center
  • Fellowship:

    • Fellowship in pediatric neurology, Harvard Medical School
  • Certifications:

    • Pediatric neurology, 1997


  • "A case of group B streptococcal pyomyositis" Clinical Infectious Diseases  1990
  • "Cell therapy for neonatal hypoxia-ischemia and cerebral palsy" Annals of Neurology May 2012
  • "Mature myelin basic protein-expressing oligodendrocytes are insensitive to kainate toxicity" Journal of Neuroscience Research January 15 2003
  • "Prenatal cerebral ischemia triggers dysmaturation of caudate projection neurons" Annals of Neurology  2014
  • "Large-scale generation of highly enriched neural stem-cell-derived oligodendroglial cultures" Journal of Neurochemistry February 2007
  • "Congenital Malformations of the Central Nervous System"   2005
  • "Role of instrumented fetal sheep preparations in defining the pathogenesis of human periventricular white-matter injury" Journal of Child Neurology July 2006
  • "Differential susceptibility to axonopathy in necrotic and non-necrotic perinatal white matter injury" Stroke January 2012
  • "Differential response of neutral endopeptidase 24.11 ('enkephalinase'), and cholinergic and opioidergic markers to hypoglossal axotomy" Journal of Comparative Neurology  1994
  • "Isoflurane-induced apoptosis of neurons and oligodendrocytes in the fetal rhesus macaque brain" Anesthesiology  2014
  • "Developmental Physiology of the Central Nervous System"   2005
  • "Differential isoform profiles of α2-macroglobulin from plasma of patients with chronic-progressive or relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis" Clinica Chimica Acta October 15 1992
  • "Developmental Physiology of the Central Nervous System"   2012
  • "Strain-specific differences in perinatal rodent oligodendrocyte lineage progression and its correlation with human" Developmental Neuroscience October 2011
  • "CD44 expression identifies astrocyte-restricted precursor cells" Developmental Biology December 1 2004
  • "Central axons preparing to myelinate are highly sensitivity to ischemic injury" Annals of Neurology December 2012
  • "Emerging concepts in periventricular white matter injury" Seminars in Perinatology December 2004
  • "Role of recurrent hypoxia-ischemia in preterm white matter injury severity" PLoS One November 12 2014
  • "Arrested preoligodendrocyte maturation contributes to myelination failure in premature infants" Annals of Neurology January 2012
  • "Histopathological correlates of magnetic resonance imaging-defined chronic perinatal white matter injury" Annals of Neurology September 2011
  • "Preterm Fetal Hypoxia-Ischemia Causes Hypertonia and Motor Deficits in the Neonatal Rabbit" Journal of Neuroscience January 7 2004
  • "Hypoxia-ischemia preferentially triggers glutamate depletion from oligodendroglia and axons in perinatal cerebral white matter" Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism February 2007
  • "A confocal laser microscopic study of enkephalin-immunoreactive appositions onto physiologically identified neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla" Journal of Neuroscience  1992
  • "Protective effects of caffeine on chronic hypoxia-induced perinatal white matter injury" Annals of Neurology December 2006
  • "Hemodynamic and metabolic correlates of perinatal white matter injury severity" PLoS One December 11 2013
  • "Human neural stem cells induce functional myelination in mice with severe dysmyelination" Science Translational Medicine October 10 2012
  • "The sheep as a model of brain injury in the premature infant"  September 22 2015
  • "Fluorescent histochemical localization of neutral endopeptidase-24.11 (enkephalinase) in the rat spinal cord" Journal of Comparative Neurology  1989
  • "Differential isoelectric focusing properties of crude and purified human α2-macroglobulin and α2-macroglobulin-proteinase complexes" Journal of Chromatography B: Biomedical Sciences and Applications  1983
  • "White matter lesions defined by diffusion tensor imaging in older adults" Annals of Neurology September 2011

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