Student Speaker Exchange

The Midwest PhD Student Speaker Exchange:

Every year BME GSA arranges seminars featuring senior graduate students from universities across the midwest to present their research for our department.

Spring 2019:

Presenter: Dominique Smith, University of Michigan

Topic: PLG bridge implantation in chronic SCI promotes axonal regeneration

Friday, April 5, 2019, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm, Bevis Hall

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition that may cause permanent functional loss below the level of injury, including paralysis and loss of bladder, bowel, and sexual function. Patients are rarely treated immediately, and this delay is associated with tissue loss and scar formation that can make regeneration at chronic time points more challenging. Herein, we investigated regeneration using a poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) multi-channel bridge, which has previously been used in acute SCI models, implanted into a chronic SCI following surgical resection of necrotic tissue. We initially characterized the dynamic injury response and noted that scar formation decreased at 4 and 8 weeks post injury (wpi), yet macrophage infiltration increased between 4 and 8 wpi. Subsequently, scar tissue was resected and bridges implanted at 4 and 8 wpi. Bridge implantation did not exacerbate functional deficits; however, while robust axon growth into the bridge and myelination were observed with implantation at both time points, no recovery of function was observed. Axon densities were increased for bridge implantation at 8 weeks relative to 4 weeks, whereas greater myelination, particularly by Schwann cells, was observed with bridge implantation at 4 weeks. Collectively, this chronic model follows the pathophysiology of human SCI and bridge implantation allows for clear demarcation of regenerated tissue. These data demonstrate that bridge implantation into chronic SCI supports regeneration and provides a platform to investigate strategies to buttress and expand regeneration of neural tissue at chronic time points.

Spring 2017:

Presenter: Zaw Win, University of Minnesota

Topic: The Effect of Cellular Architecture on Functional and Mechanical Properties

Spring 2016:

Presenter:Alexandra Rutz, Northwestern University
Topic:Engineering Customizable Hydrogel Inks for 3D Tissue and Organ Printing