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Tissue Engineering in the Nervous System


Tissue Engineering combines biomaterials and cells to replace tissues and organs in the body lost due to injury or disease.  My lab is interested in overcoming traumatic injuries to the central nervous system, and specifically spinal cord injury and stroke.  With a view toward creating a device that can be implanted to promte repair, we are creating biomimetic scaffolds in which to guide nerve cell growth.  Nerve cells are guided to their targets by a combination of attractive and repulsive cues that are both short-range and long-range.  Our scaffolds include both concentration gradients of neurotrophins and cell-adhesive peptides with which to guide nerve cell growth.  These strategies and some of our newer scaffold designs that include femtosecond laser patterning of hydrogels will be described.