red and teal spiral bar graphic


photo of Heather Hamilton Ross, PhD, PT

Heather Hamilton Ross, PT, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Physical Therapy
Brenau University


Phone: (352)392-0231

Lead Mentors

D. Fuller, PhD

Research Areas

Stem cell, neurorehabilitation, neuromuscular plasticity

  • 1995 Louisburg College AS
  • 1997 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Exercise and Sport Science BS
  • 2000 East Carolina University Physical Therapy MPT
  • 2006 Virginia Commonwealth University Anatomy & Neurobiology PhD



Brenau University President's Opportunity Grant (Ross) 04/24/15 - 04/23/16 Brenau University Training Grant: Intermittent hypoxia to condition neural stem cells The goal of this work is to work with undergraduate faculty and students as well as DPT students to establish a basic science, interdisciplinary research laboratory at Brenau University. Within this proposal, molecular and cellular biology techniques will be pursued to understand how intermittent hypoxia exposure mechanistically impacts neural stem cell biology.

Pilot Grant (Ross) 01/01/15 - 12/31/15 Foundation for Physical Therapy Rehabilitation to elicit maximal stroke recovery following stem cell transplantation The goal of this work is to trial intermittent hypoxia exposure as a rehabilitation adjuvant to neural stem cell therapy following acute stroke in middle aged rats.

Grant#K12 HD055929 (Ottenbacher) 09/25/07 - 08/31/17 National Institutes of Health Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program The goal of this program is to prepare Scholars, trained Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists, to initiate successful and independent careers as rehabilitation researchers. Role: Scholar

Grant#R01 HL109006-01 (Fuller) 06/01/12 - 06/01/17 NIH/NHLBI Modulation of Phrenic Motoneuron Plasticity after Cervical Spinal Cord Injury The goal of this work is to determine the plasticity of phrenic motor neurons and associated interneurons, and the role of serotonin and serotonin replacement on recovery of respiratory function following chronic spinal cord injury. Role: Co-I

Grant#R21 NS081431-01 (Fuller) 09/01/12 - 08/31/14 NIH/NINDS Spinal and brainstem respiratory neurons in Pompe disease The goal of this work is to study the role of neural dysfunction in Pompe Disease Role: Key personnel

Publications (past 5 years)

Sandhu MS, Ross HH, Lee KZ, Ormerod BK, Reier PJ, Fuller DD. Intraspinal transplantation of subventricular zone-derived neural progenitor cells improves phrenic motor output after high cervical spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol. 2017 Jan;287(Pt 2):205-215. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.06.007.

Ross HH, Ambrosio F, Trumbower RD, Reier PJ, Behrman AL, Wolf SL. Neural Stem Cell Therapy and Rehabilitation in the Central Nervous System: Emerging Partnerships. Phys Ther. 2016 May;96(5):734-42. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20150063.

Dougherty BJ, Gonzalez-Rothi EJ, Lee KZ, Ross HH, Reier PJ, Fuller DD. Respiratory outcomes after midcervical transplantation of embryonic medullary cells in rats with cervical spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol. 2016 Apr;278:22-6. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.01.017. PMCID: PMC4791580.

Dougherty BJ, Gonzalez-Rothi EJ, Lee KZ, Ross HH, Reier PJ, Fuller DD. Intraspinal allografts of embryonic medullary cells improve respiratory outcomes after high cervical spinal cord injury in rats. Exp Neurology. 2016; 278, 22-6.

Ross HH, Sandhu MS, Sharififar S, Azari H, Fuller DD. Delivery of in vivo acute intermittent hypoxia in neonatal rodents to prime subventricular zone-derived neural progenitor cell cultures. JoVE. 2015; 105. PMCID: PMC4692685

Ye F, McCoy SC, Ross HH, Bernardo JA, Beharry AW, Senf SM, Judge AR, Beck DT, Conover CF, Cannady DF, Yarrow JF, Borst SE. Transcriptional regulation of myotrophic actions by testosterone and trenbolone on androgen-muscle. Steroids. 2014; 87, 59-66.

Gill LC, Ross HH, Lee KZ, Gonzalez-Rothi EJ, Dougherty BJ, Judge AR, Fuller DD. Rapid diaphragm atrophy following cervical spinal cord hemisection. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2014 Feb 1;192, 66-73.

Ross HH, Sandhu MS, Cheung TF, Fitzpatrick GM, Sher WJ, Tiemeier AJ, Laywell ED, Fuller DD. In vivo intermittent hypoxia elicits enhanced expansion and neuronal differentiation in cultured neural progenitors. Exp Neurol. 2012 May;235(1):238-45. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2012.01.027. PMCID: PMC4089987.

Ross HH, Rahman M, Levkoff LH, Millette S, Martin-Carreras T, Dunbar EM, Reynolds BA, Laywell ED. Ethynyldeoxyuridine (EdU) suppresses in vitro population expansion and in vivo tumor progression of human glioblastoma cells. J Neurooncol. 2011 Dec;105(3):485-98. doi: 10.1007/s11060-011-0621-6. PMCID: PMC3202677.

UF: University of Florida logo
USC: University of Southern California logo
UTMB: University of Texas Medical Branch logo