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Faculty
Christine Schmidt
Adjunct Professor

Email: schmidt@che.utexas.edu
Website
Main Office: BME 4.202I
Phone: 471-1690

Alternate Office: BME 4.318
Alt. Phone: 471-1832

Mailing Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Biomedical Engineering
1 University Station C0800, BME 4.202I
Austin ,TX 78712-1095

Christine Schmidt


Research Summary

Damage to spinal cord and peripheral nerve tissue can have a devastating impact on the quality of life for individuals suffering from nerve injuries. Many attempts are being made to engineer therapies that can either stimulate the regeneration of damaged nerve or that can replace nerve function. Our research entails parallel approaches to: (1) design biomaterials-based nerve guides that can be used to stimulate and enhance the regeneration of peripheral nerve tissue, and ultimately spinal cord tissue, and (2) interface electronic materials with neurons in an effort to design improved bioprosthetic devices that can replace lost function as a result of nerve injury. New engineering technologies to aid nerve regeneration will ultimately require that biomaterials be designed both to physically support tissue growth as well as to elicit desired receptor-specific responses from particular cell types. One way of achieving such interactive biomaterials is with the incorporation of biological molecules into synthetic matrices or the use of natural-based biomaterials that interact favorable with the body. Further specificity may be gained by choosing a material with inherent properties that enhance desired cellular responses - for example, electroactive materials (e.g., conducting polymers, semiconductor quantum dots) that can stimulate electrically responsive cell types such as nerve. In addition, these electronic interfaces may allow neurons to communicate with prosthetic devices, which can replace or mimic function, and may prove equally valuable for aiding individuals with serious nerve injuries.

 

 

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