B.S. Biomedical Engineering,
Saint Louis University
M.S., Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in Saint Louis
Cell transplantation therapies have shown promise in treating the cellular voids that form after spinal cord injury that prevent functional regeneration. Unfortunately, direct injection to the site of injury suffers from poor survival and engraftment of the transplanted cells, limiting their therapeutic efficacy. Therefore, my project aims to develop and customize injectable materials that both protects cells during injection and promotes cell engraftment with host tissue. Specifically, I aim to study the role of Shear-thinning hydrogels for Injectable Encapsulating Long-term Delivery (SHIELD) matrix properties on both glial and neural progenitor cell populations in order to optimize their therapeutic and regenerative potential in vivo. Specific material properties such as stiffness, ex vivo and in vivo, degradation, and ligand identity are investigated to enhance cell survival and function.