Headshot portrait of Cassandra Villicana - Bio-X Bowes Fellow
Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2022
Home Department: Bioengineering
Faculty Advisors: Fan Yang (Orthopaedic Surgery and Bioengineering), Stuart Goodman (Orthopaedic Surgery), and Charles Kwok Fai Chan (Surgery – Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery)

Research Title: Tissue Extracellular Matrix-derived Microribbon Scaffolds to Enhance Bone Regeneration Through Immunomodulation

Research Description: Biomaterial scaffolds have been widely used for bone tissue engineering by targeting stem cell differentiation. Immune cells are the early responders to bone injury, and recent studies suggest biomaterials can also modulate tissue regeneration via modulation of the immune system. Natural extracellular matrix (ECM)-derived materials have been shown to favor pro-regenerative immune response. However, previous studies have been limited to soft tissue regeneration using nanoporous hydrogels. Success of Cassandra’s proposed work will shed light on the interface between the immune system and stem cells in cranial bone healing, and guide design of tissue ECM-derived macroporous scaffolds as new therapies for treating cranial bone defects.