Heilshorn Biomaterials Group

Member Profile

Karen Dubbin

PhD Student, Materials Science & Engineering

B.S. Materials Science & Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Following injury to the central nervous system, the primary trauma is surrounded by a microenvironment that inhibits axonal regeneration. This contrasts with injury to the peripheral nervous system, where few inhibitory molecules are present and regeneration is possible. One major field of study for developing spinal cord injury therapies is to mimic the microenvironment present in the peripheral nervous system in the central nervous system. This can be achieved in a number of different ways including through delivery of pro-regenerative growth factors or delivery of cell types known to aid in regeneration in the peripheral nervous system. We are investigating the use of Mixing Induced Two-Component Hydrogels (MITCH) as a delivery mechanism for spinal cord injury. This hydrogel may serve as an ideal delivery system both because of its injectability as well as its cell protective qualities and ability to serve as a growth matrix.