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Friday September 15, 2017 -- CANCELLED

SMBB 2650, 11:45 am

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Speaker: Christine E. Schmidt, Department Chair Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida

Presentation Abstract:

Damage to spinal cord and peripheral nerve tissue can have a devastating impact on the quality of life for individuals suffering from nerve injuries. Our research is focused on analyzing and designing biomaterials that can interface with neurons and specifically stimulate and guide nerves to regenerate. These biomaterials might be required for facial and hand reconstruction or in trauma cases, and potentially could be used to aid the regeneration of damaged spinal cord. Our research has focused on both top down and bottom up approaches to studying nerve regeneration and designing therapies ultimately for use in the clinic. In the top down approach, we have worked with modified nerve tissue to make it off the shelf accessible for nerve repair. To do this, our group has developed natural tissue scaffolds termed "acellular tissue grafts" created by chemical processing of normal intact nerve tissue. These grafts are created from natural biological tissue "human cadaver nerves" and are chemically processed so that they do not cause an immune response and are therefore not rejected in patients. These grafts have been optimized to maintain the natural intricate architecture of the nerve pathways, and thus, they are ideal for promoting the regrowth of damaged axons across lesions. These engineered, biological nerve grafts are currently used in the clinic for peripheral nerve injuries and are being explored in intact and injectable formulations for spinal cord regeneration.