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Cover Article, “Synapse-to-Neuron Ratio is Inversely Related to Neuronal Density in Mature Neuronal Cultures”

Brain research

2014 News

The Cullen Lab's research in TBI was featured in the Fall issue of Penn Medicine Magazine (p. 15-17). PDF

Dr. Cullen and colleague Dr. Douglas Smith were awarded a 3-year grant from the Department of Defense Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program to advance their work for "Repair of Segmental Nerve Defects Using Tissue-Engineered Nerve Grafts."

Dr. Cullen was invited to give a research talk at the Center for Translational Injury Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, TX. He presented “Tissue Engineered Nerve Grafts for Peripheral and Central Nervous System Repair”.

The Cullen Lab was awarded a one-year pilot grant through the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center to explore "Neuromodulation of Brain Circuits Using Transplantable Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks."

James Harris, Ph.D., was awarded an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship on the "Brain Injury Training Grant" through Penn's Center for Brain Injury & Repair. Dr. Harris' project is on "Mechanisms of Biophysical Responses and Neurodegeneration following Concomitant Blast and Inertial Traumatic Brain Injury."

Dr. Cullen gave a lecture at the American Society for Peripheral Nerve Annual Meeting in Kauai, Hawaii in January. The talk was titled "Tissue Engineered Grafts Accelerate Peripheral Nerve Repair By Direct Axon-Induced Axon Regeneration."

2013 News

Laura Struzyna was a Poster Award Finalist at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in November. Her poster was titled "Tissue Engineered Grafts Accelerate Peripheral Nerve Repair By Direct Axon-Induced Axon Regeneration."

Dr. Cullen gave an Invited Lecture at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in May. He presented "Tissue Engineering Strategies to Restore Neural Circuitry and Create Living Scaffolds for Targeted Axonal Regeneration."

Dr. Cullen and collaborator Dr. Douglas Smith were awarded funding from the Department of Defense through the Rutgers - Cleveland Clinic Consortium of the Armed Forces Inst. of Regenerative Medicine. This project will investigate the efficacy of novel tissue engineered constructs encased in custom-built nerve guidance tubes to promote nerve regeneration following major peripheral nerve injury.

Bioengineering Ph.D. Candidate, Laura Struzyna, was selected for a prestigious 3-year Graduate Research Fellowship through the National Science Foundation based on her proposal for "Tissue Engineered Constructs for Neural Regeneration."

Dr. Cullen and colleagues Dr. John Duda and Dr. John Wolf received a 5-year Merit Review from the Department of Veterans Affairs entitled "Chronic Neurodegenerative and Neurophysiological Sequela of Closed-Head TBI."

Dr. Cullen and Dr. Smith have an article published in Scientific American titled "Bionic Connections" describing their efforts to develop biohybrid neuroprosthetic interfaces (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-artifical-arms-could-connect-nervous-system). In addition, the magazine published a web-based companion article on the use of this neural tissue engineering technology to repair peripheral nerve injuries (http://scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=bionic-limb-researchers-build-new-bridges-nerve-injury).

2012 News

Dr. Wolf and Laura Struzyna gave nanosymposium presentations at the Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans, LA. Dr. Wolf presented "Alterations in Hippocampal Circuitry Post Diffuse Brain Injury in a Swine TBI Model". Laura Struzyna presented "A Stragey for Functional Restoration of Brain Pathways Using Micro-Tissue Engineered Constructs Containing Living Axon Tracts".

Dr. Cullen gave a lecture at the Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL detailing his recent work in "Acute Biophysical Responses and Neurophysiological Sequelae following Closed-Head Traumatic Brain Injury in Swine".

Commentary by Dr. Cullen was featured in a blog post about brain-based neural electrical interface systems: innovation-how-a-paralyzed-peson-uses-thoughts-to-control-a-robotic-arm

Dr. Cullen was interviewed for a blog post regarding the effects of traumatic brain injury on NFL athletes: http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2012/05/physics-of-hit-football-concussions.html

The Cullen Lab was awarded a grant from Axonia Medical, Inc. to advance novel neural tissue engineering technology to improve neuroregeneration following severe peripheral nerve injury.

A new company, Cerebid Technologies, has been formed by Dr. Cullen along with Ray Krauss, Douglas Smith and Shu Yang, to focus on translating their unique blast-sensitive photonic nanocrystals. These photonic nanocrystals, which change color following exposure to blast, are being developed as a "Blast Badge" to measure an individual soldiers blast exposure levels relative to thresholds for blast-induced traumatic brain injury, the "signature injury" in warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr. Cullen was invited to give a research talk at the Neuroprotection Research Seminar Series through the Shock, Trauma and Anesthesiology Research Center (STAR-ORC) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. He presented "Closed-Head Blast vs. Inertial TBI: Cellular Biophysical Responses and Neurophysiological Sequela".

Dr. Cullen was an Invited Speaker at the 2nd World Congress on Biotechnology in Philadelphia, PA. He presented "Neural Tissue Engineering Strategies for Cell Replacement and Axon Regeneration".

Dr. Cullen gave Neurosurgical Grand Rounds at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY entitled "Altered Neurophysiology and Neuropathology following Closed-Head TBI".

Dr. Cullen was an Invited Speaker at the Department of Defense Advanced Technology Applications for Combat Casualty Care (ATACCC) Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He presented "Neuropathological and Functional Changes following Non-Impact, Closed-Head Acceleration/Deceleration-Induced TBI".

Dr. Wolf and Ms. Mietus gave platform presentations at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting in Hartford, CT. Dr. Wolf presented "Biohybridized Neural Tissue Engineered Constructs for Electrical Interface with Peripheral Nerve". Ms. Mietus presented "Neural Cell Biophysical Responses in Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury".

BioTech Strategy Blog recently featured Dr. Cullen's work to advance neural tissue engineering technology to develop bionic interfaces and to promote nervous system repair (http://biotechstrategyblog.com/2011/07/how-we-may-be-able-to-rebuild-the-six-million-dollar-man.html/).  This work is being done in collaboration with Drs. John A. Wolf and Douglas H. Smith, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Cullen was interviewed for a story on Blast-TBI on KYW Newsradio 1060. The story and a link to the audio can be found at: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/06/03/part-1-the-signature-injury-of-the-afghanistan-war/.

John Wolf and Constance Mietus each had their abstracts selected for oral presentations at the Annual Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society this fall in Hartford, CT.  John will be presenting our work on "Biohybridized Neural Tissue Engineered Constructs for Electrical Interface with Peripheral Nerve" and Constance will be presenting "Neural Cell Biophysical Responses in Blast-Induced TBI".

Dr. Cullen was an Invited Speaker at the Trauma Mechanics Research Center at the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln where he presented "Biophysical Responses and a 'Signature' Neuropathology in Blast-Induced TBI".

Dr. Cullen’s work to develop a materials-based blast injury dosimeter using blast-sensitive photonic nanocrystals was featured on the BioTech Strategy Blog (http://biotechstrategyblog.com/2011/04/how-nanotechnology-may-revolutionize-the-detection-of-traumatic-brain-injury-using-a-sensor-that-changes-color.html/).  This work was done in collaboration with Drs. Douglas H. Smith and Shu Yang, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Cullen was an Invited Speaker at the Association of Health Care Journalists Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA. In the session “Lessons of War: Advances in Medical Science and Technique”, he presented work on the Blast Badge using photonic nanocrystals and Biohybridized Neural Interfaces to drive the next-generation of neuro-prosthetics.

Dr. Cullen was appointed to the Editorial Board for Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering
http://www.begellhouse.com/journals/4b27cbfc562e21b8.html

Dr. Cullen was an Invited Speaker at the Department of Defense Brain Injury Computational Modeling Expert Panel Meeting held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, in Boston, MA.  Dr. Cullen presented new findings on “Neural Cellular Biophysical Responses to Blast Exposure”.

Dr. Cullen was an Invited Speaker at the Translational Neuroscience Seminar Series, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.  Dr. Cullen discussed his work “Detecting a ‘Signature’ Neuropathology for Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury”.

Manuscript “Color Changing Photonic Crystals Detect Blast Exposure”, originally published in NeuroImage, was featured by Science (Editor’s Choice) , Penn Medicine, Technology Review, UPI, Newsworks, Wired, The Engineer. Here are the links:

Science, Editor’s Choice http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6007/twil.full.pdf

Penn Medicine News Release http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2010/11/blast-badge-indicates-brain-injury-risk/

Technology Review (from MIT) http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/26820/?p1=A1

UPI.com http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2010/11/29/Color-changing-blast-badge-developed/UPI-11151291077838/

Wired.co.uk  http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2010-11/30/blast-sensors

The Engineer http://www.theengineer.co.uk/news/colour-patches-indicate-soldiers-blast-exposure-level/1006322.article

Science News, quick mention http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/66322/title/Visor_might_protect__troops_from_blasts

WHYY  http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/health-science/item/8323-30mkpatch

Contact Information

D. Kacy Cullen, Ph.D
105E Hayden Hall, 3320 Smith Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
dkacy@mail.med.upenn.edu

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News and Events

  • The Cullen Lab's research in TBI was featured in the Fall issue of Penn Medicine Magazine (p. 15-17). PDF
  • Dr. Cullen and colleague Dr. Douglas Smith were awarded a 3-year grant from the Department of Defense Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program to advance their work for "Repair of Segmental Nerve Defects Using Tissue-Engineered Nerve Grafts."
  • Dr. Cullen was invited to give a research talk at the Center for Translational Injury Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, TX. He presented “Tissue Engineered Nerve Grafts for Peripheral and Central Nervous System Repair”.
  • The Cullen Lab was awarded a one-year pilot grant through the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center to explore "Neuromodulation of Brain Circuits Using Transplantable Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks."
  • James Harris, Ph.D., was awarded an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship on the "Brain Injury Training Grant" through Penn's Center for Brain Injury & Repair. Dr. Harris' project is on "Mechanisms of Biophysical Responses and Neurodegeneration following Concomitant Blast and Inertial Traumatic Brain Injury."
  • Dr. Cullen gave a lecture at the American Society for Peripheral Nerve Annual Meeting in Kauai, Hawaii in January. The talk was titled "Tissue Engineered Grafts Accelerate Peripheral Nerve Repair By Direct Axon-Induced Axon Regeneration."
  • Laura Struzyna was a Poster Award Finalist at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in November. Her poster was titled "Tissue Engineered Grafts Accelerate Peripheral Nerve Repair By Direct Axon-Induced Axon Regeneration."
  • Dr. Cullen gave an Invited Lecture at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in May. He presented "Tissue Engineering Strategies to Restore Neural Circuitry and Create Living Scaffolds for Targeted Axonal Regeneration."
  • Dr. Cullen and collaborator Dr. Douglas Smith were awarded funding from the Department of Defense through the Rutgers - Cleveland Clinic Consortium of the Armed Forces Inst. of Regenerative Medicine. This project will investigate the efficacy of novel tissue engineered constructs encased in custom-built nerve guidance tubes to promote nerve regeneration following major peripheral nerve injury.
  • Bioengineering Ph.D. Candidate, Laura Struzyna, was selected for a prestigious 3-year Graduate Research Fellowship through the National Science Foundation based on her proposal for "Tissue Engineered Constructs for Neural Regeneration."

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