PhD Candidate in Bioengineering: Hasenwinkel Lab
My research focuses on developing novel natural polymeric biomaterials to target axonal regeneration following a nervous system injury by utilizing a phenomenon called stretch growth. Peripheral nerve severance is one of the most common outcomes in a peripheral nerve injury. We have developed a crosslinked hyaluronic acid based hydrogel network that shrinks on a timescale relevant for axonal stretching. The ultimate application of such a biomaterial would be in a large gap peripheral nerve injury model to act as an active micromotor pulling axonal ends closer at the outset, and then behave as a passive bridge once the shrinking ceases, to guide them across and form functional re-innervations.