"Biomaterials for Cell Transplantation and Drug Delivery for the Treatment of Nerve Injury"
Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD
Professor & Associate Chair
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.
Sakiyama-Elbert's research is highly interdisciplinary, combining an understanding of biology, chemistry, and biomedical engineering to develop new bioactive materials, which can enhance wound healing and tissue regeneration.
Her research is currently funded by the NIH and focuses on developing biomaterials scaffolds for drug delivery and stem cell transplantation to treat peripheral nerve and spinal cord injuries.
In 2000, Sakiyama-Elbert joined the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a member of the Center for Materials Innovation and the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders.
Andrés García, PhD - faculty host