FURI | Spring 2020

Using Stem Cells and Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels to Increase Cortical Plasticity Following TBI

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Advances in stem cell technology have shown promise for treating traumatic brain injury (TBI). We tested the effects of injecting neural stem cells embedded in a hyaluronic acid hydrogel on motor recovery in rats with TBI. Forty rats were assigned to one of four conditions. TBI+HA/Stem cells, TBI+HA, TBI or Control. All animals then received 20 days of forelimb reach training. All rats with TBI were motor impaired but stem cell injections did not confer any significant motor improvements. However, the injection technique used failed to keep the cells inside the lesion. Work is currently testing a new injection method.

Student researcher

Bhavya Sharma

Biomedical engineering

Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2021