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Biomedical Science Research

Wichita State University Department of Biological Sciences

Li Yao, Ph.D.
Functionalized biomaterial scaffolds targeted at improving axonal regeneration by enhancing guided axonal growth provide a promising approach for neural regeneration. Biomaterials can simultaneously provide structural guidance for neural tissue regeneration and act as a carrier for the delivery therapeutic cell and molecules delivery into the lesion. Our research interest is to improve neural regeneration using biomaterial scaffolds, cell therapy, and gene therapy. In the investigation of neural cell-biomaterials interaction, we studied the potential of nano-fibers, microspheres and hydrogels for the delivery of neural cells and neural stem cells in neural regeneration. We reported that implantation of biomaterials scaffolds promoted axonal regeneration after spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury.

Effective directional migration of endogenous and grafted neural cells to reconstruct functional connections is crucial in the lesion of central nervous system. Steady direct current electric fields (EFs) play an important role in the development of the central nervous system. A strong biological effect of EFs is the induction of directional cell migration. We have investigated the EFs-guided migration of neurons and glial cells (Schwann cells and oligodendrocyte progenitor cells). We recently showed that the migration of embryonic stem cells and neural stem cells can be directed by EFs. We tried to reveal the signaling pathways of this potential therapeutic approach by next generation RNA sequencing and gene knockout animals. 

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William Hendry, Ph.D.
According to the American Cancer Society and other independent sources, ovarian cancer remains the most lethal gynecologic cancer in the USA. Our novel approach to improve the clinical diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of that disease takes advantage of our extensive experience using the immunologically privileged hamster cheek pouch as a host site for human tumor cell lines and surgically removed patient tumor samples. To facilitate such a Translational Research project (now a high-priority funding area for the National Institutes of Health), we established partnerships with other expert basic science (Dr. Kenneth Nephew, Indiana University School of Medicine) and local clinical (Dr. James Delmore, University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita) groups. We are now analyzing the histology and the gene expression profiles of an initial collection of successful xenotransplant tumor cell/tissue masses at the proteomic level using immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry.

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