Serena-Kaye Sims

Assistant Professor


Ph.D. – Medical University of South Carolina 

B.S. – College of Charleston 

Research Interests

Research in my lab focuses on noninvasive treatment options for neonatal hypoxic ischemia (neonatal stroke). We are interested in discovering how pharmacological treatments given with or concurrent with brain stimulation impact neonatal brain plasticity, functional recovery, and neurodevelopment. My lab’s current studies focus on utilizing intranasal treatment of the protein BDNF to improve brain health and recovery after a hypoxic event in a neonatal rat. The brain is plastic, and even more so during development, so our research explores both the logical and practical attempt to further enhance the brain’s natural mechanisms after injury. 

Courses Taught

BIOL 111: Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology 

BIOL 351: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience 

BIOL 354 Techniques in Neuroscience 

BIOL 447: Seminar in Neuroscience 


Neuroscience Program 


Sims SK,  Saddow M, *McGonegal L, and Sims-Robinson C. (2023). Intranasal Administration of BDNF Improves Recovery and Promotes Neural Plasticity in a Neonatal Mouse Model of Hypoxic Ischemia. Experimental Neurobiology. Under Review.

Smith C,  Sims  SK, Nguyen S, Lowry T, Williams A, ,and Sims-Robinson C. (2023). Intranasal Insulin Helps Overcome Brain Insulin Deficiency and Improves Survival and Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment in Male Mice. Journal of Neuroscience Research. In Press. 

Sims SK, Wilken-Resman B, Smith C, Mitchell A, McGonegal L, and Sims-Robinson C. (2022). Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Nerve Growth Factor Therapeutics for Brain Injury: The Current Translational Challenges in Preclinical and Clinical Research. Neural Plasticity. PMID 3889300. 

Sims SK, Rizzo A, Howard K, Farrand A, Boger H, Adkins DL. (2020). Comparative Enhancement of Motor Function and BDNF Expression Following Different Brain Stimulation Approaches in an Animal Model of Ischemic Stroke. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. PMCID: PMC7572816. 

Clayton E, Kinley-Cooper (Sims) SK, Weber RA, Adkins DL. (2016). Brain Stimulation: Neuromodulation as a Potential Treatment for Motor Recovery Following Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain Research, 1640(Pt A):130-8. Review. PMID: 26855256.  

Ruscio, M.G., King, S.B., Kinley-Cooper (Sims), S.K., McKendrick, G. (2018). Social environment affects central distribution of estrogen receptor alpha in Peromyscus californicus. General and Comparative Endocrinology.PMID: 30145237.