Fellowships for postdoctoral students in basic science, clinical applications, or design and development, intended to encourage training and specialization in the field of spinal cord research
Bioactive Peptide Amphiphile Scaffolds to Enhance Spinal Cord Regeneration
Zaida Alvarez Pinto PhD
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating condition affecting an estimated 1.3 million Americans, costing over 40 billion dollars each year. SCI causes immediate damage of neural tissue at the site of injury, which impedes functional tissue repair and limits possible therapeutic approaches. Previously, the Stupp Laboratory demonstrated that synthetic nanofiber materials could be used as non-invasive injectable bioactive implants and showed enhanced regeneration in an experimental mouse model of SCI. Here, the applicant proposes a combinatorial approach that integrates multiple bioactive signals displayed on the nanofiber scaffold to address various aspects of the injury and increase the potency of the bioactive materials. Designing and testing materials with specific signals that limit the spread of damage and promote revascularization, nerve regeneration, and functional recovery after SCI will accomplish this goal.