We use engineering approaches to develop 1) new therapies that promote regeneration of brain and spinal cord tissues and 2) improved preclinical models of brain tumors.

A common theme across many central nervous system disorders, including spinal cord injury and cancer, is significant alterations to the extracellular matrix, such as changes in biochemical composition and structural mechanics of the tissue. A lack of understanding of how the extracellular matrix is fundamentally altered by injury or disease, and thus how these changes can be reversed to restore normal function, has been a major limitation to the development of new treatments. This gap in understanding is due to a shortage of tools available for investigating the unique extracellular environment in the central nervous system and its relationship to cell function. Thus, it is crucial to develop new platform tools in which to study these interactions and identify new clinical strategies. To address this need, my lab is developing biomimetic, hydrogel-based microenvironments with modular features that can be tuned to 1) quantify independent effects of various extracellular parameters on cell function and 2) provide a means for precise external control over cell function. Furthermore, we are developing methods for high-throughput monitoring of transcription factor activity in live cells cultured within these same biomaterial platforms. Acquisition of dynamic, high-throughput data from cells cultured in physiologically relevant conditions will provide key mechanistic insights into the progression of nervous system pathologies and, ultimately, identify new target pathways for regenerative therapies.

News

Aug 20, 2019

New article on hydrogel-mediated gene delivery. Congrats to Arshia!

An article “Injectable, hyaluronic acid-based scaffolds with macroporous architecture for gene delivery” has been accepted for publication in the annual Young Innovator issue of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, which will come out in October 2019. Congratulation to lead author, Arshia Ehsanipour, and all lab members who contributed as authors; including, Tommy Nguyen, Tasha Aboufadel, Mayilone Sathialingam, Phillip Cox, Weikun Xiao,…
Aug 11, 2019

Postdoctoral Position in Cancer Tissue Engineering Available for Jan. 2020!

Job Description: A post-doctoral position in the laboratory of Stephanie Seidlits in the Department of Bioengineering at UCLA is available (start date January 2020). We are seeking candidates for a multidisciplinary project developing tissue-engineered models of glioblastoma tumors as platforms for personalized medicine that can predict patient outcomes within a clinically actionable time frame. The project will use biomaterial cultures…
Jul 10, 2019

The Seidlits lab has been selected for an R Bridge Award from the UCLA Center for Translational Science Institute with matching funds from the Department of Bioengineering.

The Seidlits lab has been awarded an R Bridge Award from the UCLA CTSI for our work using tissue-engineered models of the interface between glioblastoma and its associated blood vessels for systematic characterization of the mechanisms by which blood vessels promote GBM cells to migrate away from primary tumors, eventually leading to tumor recurrence. The Department of Bioengineering has provided…
Jun 22, 2019

The Seidlits lab has been selected for an Innovation Award by the Broad Stem Cell Research Center. Thank you to the BSCRC!

The Seidlits lab has been selected for an Innovation Award by the UCLA BSCRC. These seed funds will be used on a research project titled “Towards combinatorial therapies for spinal cord injury: Development of biomaterials as a conductive interface between the spinal cord, transplanted stem cells and microelectrode arrays”. This is a highly interdisciplinary effort in collaboration with the labs…
Jun 22, 2019

Congrats to Rebecca for receiving an NIH Biotechnology Training Grant Fellowship!

Rebecca has received a 2-year training fellowship (NIH T32GM067555) to support her research in spinal cord injury repair under the co-mentorship of Dr. Seidlits and Dr. Reggie Edgerton. Rebecca is working to develop a hydrogel biomaterial that can provide a conductive, biocompatible interface with the spinal cord to enable the success of two promising therapies: 1) epidural electrical stimulation through…

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