The second annual “Current Advances in Spinal Cord Injury Research” Symposium, organized by the Reynolds Family Spine Laboratory at UMDNJ-NJMS, Newark, NJ, brought together basic scientists, clinicians, various healthcare and research professionals, individuals with spinal cord injury, caregivers and other attendees interested in spinal cord injury research. The event gathered over 150 participants from the tri-state area to foster discussions and exchange of knowledge in an open forum and relaxed atmosphere that facilitated interactions. The symposium presented a unique educational opportunity for all participants and covered a wide variety of topics including the use of new and promising approaches in rehabilitation to restore function and improve quality of life in individuals living with spinal cord injury, axonal regeneration, the modulation of glial and inflammatory responses to alleviate the outcome of injury, the importance of the neuronal network intrinsic to the spinal cord in the recovery of function and the effects of the local environment on transplanted human stem cells in animal models. The complexity of the medical and social challenges associated with spinal cord injury and the importance of delivering all new findings to the public domain were especially emphasized by Tim Reynolds, who gave opening remarks bringing the perspective of individuals living with spinal cord injury. The symposium highlighted the commitment of the medical, healthcare and research professionals to advance the field, contributed to public awareness and drew attention to the importance of translating science into hope.