Welcome to the Willerth Laboratory!
Our interdisciplinary research group develops novel tools that help advance tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The cornerstone of our research is improving strategies for engineering neural tissue. Our group works with both embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells can differentiate into any cell type found in the human body. This special property makes them attractive targets for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. The end goal of our research is to engineer tissues suitable for transplantation in the human nervous system for treatment of diseases like Parkinson's or to repair damaged tissue found in the spinal cord to promote recovery of lost function.
Producing functional neural tissue from pluripotent stem cells in a consistent and high throughput manner remains challenging. We develop bioactive scaffolds for directing stem cell differentiation using both physical and chemical cues. My research group has developed many types of biomaterial scaffolds, including fibrin hydrogels, multifunctional nanofibers, functionalized microfibers, and microspheres that provide controlled release of proteins and small molecules, for promoting the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into neural phenotypes. Our recent work has focused on using 3D printing as tool for engineering personalized neural tissue models of disease.. More details on this work can be found at the Research and Publications links. More information on Dr. Willerth’s start-up Axolotl Biosciences can be found here. (link to www.axolotlbiosciences.com)
Dr. Stephanie Willerth, Dr. Laura De La Vega and Laila Abelseth founded Axolotl Biosciences - a company dedicated to making novel bioinks for printing stem cell-derived tissues. Learn more at axolotlbiosciences.com.
Dr. Willerth's book:
“Neural Tissue Engineering using Stem Cells”