Seema Desai

Schwann cell growth and migration on peptide amphiphile based gels

My research focuses on peripheral nerve injury and treatment. Peripheral nerve injury requires medical attention when the severed ends of the nerve are further than a few millimeters apart. If the distance is small, the two nerve ends can regenerate and heal, but if the distance is greater (approximately a couple centimeters), then the two ends must be bridged by a nerve autograft or tubular conduit. My research specifically focuses on potential biomaterial fillers for tubular conduits, which can be modified to create an environment supportive of nerve regeneration. The summer research involves synthesis of the biomaterial filler and testing growth and migration of Schwann cells (nerve cells specific to the peripheral nervous system) on these biomaterial fillers.

Message to Sponsor

The SURF program has inspired me to design an independent research project and has given me the opportunity to dedicate the summer to concentrated laboratory research. I look forward to gathering data, furthering experiments, and hopefully expanding our understanding of biomaterial fillers and peripheral nerve treatment.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Mentor: Matthew Tirrell, Bioengineering