Will Cafferty was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1975. His family moved to England when he was 5 years old and settled in South London, Wimbledon. He graduated from Wimbledon College in 1994 and then completed a Bachelor’s degree at Bristol University. He attended graduate school at King’s College London, and received a PhD in Neuroscience studying sensory and motor dysfunction in the damaged peripheral nervous system.
Wimbledon, more specifically, tennis, and the nervous system have been constants in his life from an early age. Growing up in Wimbledon he attended the ‘the Championships’ yearly, and was elated to serve as a ball boy at the 1991 tournament. While his playing days have slowed somewhat, he still enjoys attending tournaments and playing recreationally. If not playing tennis, he can be found at the gym, or running, his father is a sub 3:30 marathoner and a friendly head to head is looming!
Will’s passion, however, is studying the central nervous system (CNS). After his PhD studies, he moved to Yale in the autumn of 2004 to begin a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Stephen Strittmatter’s laboratory to explore how and why damaged neurons fail to re-grow after spinal cord injury (SCI). Quiescence of these damaged pathways results in permanent dysfunction and therefore, clinical interventions that repair the damaged CNS are urgently required. After 4 years of studying with Dr. Strittmatter, Will received a transition award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and began setting up his own independent research laboratory. The Cafferty lab opened in the summer of 2010 and continues to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms that restrict axonal repair after spinal cord injury.
This is Will’s first year as a resident fellow at Morse College, so please help point him the right direction if he looks lost!