Biomaterials for Drug Delivery and Cell Transplantation to Treat Nerve Injury
The development of biomaterials to serve as scaffolds for wound healing and tissue repair is crucial for successful tissue engineering. My research focuses on developing biomaterials that promote cell survival and/or differentiation after transplantation for the treatment of nerve injury. My lab has developed heparin-binding affinity-based drug delivery systems that sequester growth factors within scaffolds and release growth factors in response to cell in-growth during tissue regeneration. More recently we have combined these scaffolds with embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitor cells and shown that the combination of fibrin scaffolds and growth factor delivery can enhance cell survival and differentiation of neural progenitor cells transplanted after spinal cord injury. Furthermore, we demonstrated this approach enhanced functional recovery after spinal cord injury, as assessed by gridwalk. In conclusion, fibrin scaffold containing our drug delivery system can serve as a platform for cell transplantation for many applications in regenerative medicine by tailoring the choice of growth factors and the cell type used.
Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert received her Bachelor's degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Chemical Engineering and Biology. She received her Master's and PhD degrees from California Institute of Technology in Chemical Engineering. She joined the faculty at Washington University in Biomedical Engineering in 2000 as an Asst. Professor, where she advanced to the position of the Joseph and Florence Farrow Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Vice Dean for Research in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. She joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in August 2016 as Professor & Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering and the Fletcher Stuckey Pratt Chair in Engineering. Her research focuses on developing biomaterials for drug delivery and cell transplantation for the treatment of peripheral nerve and spinal cord injury. She has written 5 book chapters and over 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals. She has US 9 patents and additional 1 patent applications submitted. Her research is funded by the NINDS & NIAMS (NIH), and previously she received early career awards from the Whitaker Foundation and the WH Coulter Foundation. She was Co-Director of the Center of Regenerative Medicine, as well as a member of the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders and Institute of Materials Science and Engineering at Washington University. Her honors include the Society for Biomaterials Clemson Award for Basic Research (2017), WU Dean’s Award for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring from School of Engineering and Applied Science (2008), WU Distinguished Faculty Award (2013) and Outstanding Faculty Mentor from the WU Graduate Student Senate (2015). She joined the College of Fellows for the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2011, she was elected a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society in 2013, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2015, and the International College of Fellows in Biomaterials Science and Engineering in 2016. Her other professional service includes serving as an Associate Editor for Biotechnology and Bioengineering and the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, a member of the Editorial Board of Acta Biomaterialia, and serving as a standing member of the Biomaterials/ Biointerfaces (BMBI) study section for the NIH (2010- 2013). She served as Chair for the 2013 Gordon Research Conference on Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering and the 2017 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting. She served as the co-President of the WU Association of Women Faculty from 2012-2014 and served as a WU Provost Faculty Fellow from 2012-2013.