People

Dr Cullen

Principal Investigator

D. Kacy Cullen, Ph.D.

dkacy@mail.med.upenn.edu

Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (2005)

M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (2002)

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (2000)

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Doctoral Candidate, Bioengineering

Laura Struzyna, B.S.E.

Predoctoral Fellowship, National Science Foundation

lstruz@mail.med.upenn.edu

B.S.E., Biomedical Engineering, Duke University (2011)

Project: Tissue Engineered Biohybrid Neuroprosthetic Interfaces, Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks to Restore Brain Circuitry, Neurophysiological Assessment of Nervous System Repair

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Doctoral Candidate, Bioengineering

Kritika Katiyar, B.S.

kritikak@mail.med.upenn.edu

B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University (2012)

Project: Tissue Engineered Living Scaffolds for Neuroregeneration, Molecular Mechanisms of Axon-Mediated Axon Regeneration, 3-D Neural Cell Culture Techniques

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Doctoral Candidate, Bioengineering

Dayo Adewole, B.S.E.

Predoctoral Fellowship, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP)

oadewole@seas.upenn.edu

B.S.E., Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania (2015)
M.S.E., Robotics, University of Pennsylvania (2015)

Project: The Application of Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks as Living Electrodes for Sensorimotor Information

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Doctoral Candidate, Neuroscience

Carolyn Keating, B.A.

ckea@mail.med.upenn.edu

B.A., Neuroscience, Colgate University (2012)

Project: Acute Permeability & Synucleinopathy in TBI and 3D Neural Cell Culture

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Doctoral Candidate, Bioengineering

Kathryn Wofford, M.S.

Graduate STEM Fellow in K-12 Education

kate.wofford@drexel.edu

M.S., Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University (2015) B.A., Biophysics and Psychology with Honors, Austin College (2012)

Project: Modulating neuroinflammation after traumatic brain injury

 

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Doctoral Candidate, Bioengineering

Wisberty J. Gordián-Vélez, B.S.

wgord@seas.upenn.edu

B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (2016)

Project: Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks to Restore Brain Circuitry, Biological “Living Electrodes” Using Tissue Engineered Axonal Tracts to Probe and Modulate the Nervous System

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Postdoctoral Fellow

Suradip Das, Ph.D.

suradip@mail.med.upenn.edu

Ph.D., Biosciences & Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (2016)

Project: Tissue Engineered Neural Constructs for Peripheral Nerve Injury Applications

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Postdoctoral Fellow

John O'Donnell, Ph.D.

john.charles.odonnell@gmail.com

Ph.D., Neuropharmacology, University of Pennsylvania (2016)

M.S., Biology, Towson University (2009)

B.A., Biology, LaSalle University (2004)

Projects: Modeling Disorders of Consciousness, Tissue Engineered Living Scaffolds for Neuroregeneration, Hippocampal Circuitry Disruption following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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Research Specialist

Kevin Browne, B.A.

kbrowne@mail.med.upenn.edu

Project: Apoptosis and plasmalemmal permeability after non-impact head trauma and blast injury, in Vivo Efficacy Testing of Tissue Engineered Nerve Grafts for Peripheral Nerve Injury, Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks to Restore Brain Circuitry

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Research Specialist

Justin Burrell, M.S.

burrellj@mail.med.upenn.edu

M.S., Neuroscience, Tulane University (2013)

B.S., Psychology, Tulane University (2012)

Project: In Vivo Efficacy Testing of Tissue Engineered Nerve Grafts for Peripheral Nerve Injury

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Research Specialist

Dan Brown, B.S.

dbrow@mail.med.upenn.edu

B.S. Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan (2014)

Project: In Vivo Efficacy Testing of Tissue Engineered Nerve Grafts for Peripheral Nerve Injury, Chronic Neurodegenerative and Neurophysiological Sequela in TBI

 
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Neurosurgical Resident

Dmitriy Petrov, M.D.

dmitriy.petrov@uphs.upenn.edu

M.D., Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

B.A., Biological Sciences, Rutgers University

Project: Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks to Restore Brain Circuitry

 

Staff Veterinarian

Chelsea Wallace, D.V.M.

cwallac@upenn.edu

D.V.M., University of Wisconsin (2014)

Project: Effects of FK506 on Host Regeneration Through Tissue-Engineered Allograft and Xenograft Nerve Constructs

 
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Medical Student

Sanford Roberts, B. A.

Sanford.Roberts@uphs.upenn.edu

B.A. Human Biology, Stanford University (2013)

Project: Evaluation of Polyethylene Glycol as an agent of rapid axonal fusion following nerve transection

 

Undergraduate Students

   
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Carla Winter

cawinter@seas.upenn.edu

Major: Bioengineering (2016)

Project: Tissue Engineered Living Scaffolds for Neuroregeneration

 
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Kate Panzer

kapanzer@seas.upenn.edu

Major: Bioengineering (2018)

Project: Tissue Engineered Living Scaffolds for Neuroregeneration

 
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Joseph Maggiore

jmagg@sas.upenn.edu

Major: Bioengineering (2019)

Project: In Vivo Efficacy Testing of Tissue Engineered Nerve Grafts for Peripheral Nerve Injury

 
 

 

 

Alumni

Tina Lulla, Undergraduate Student
Project: Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks to Restore Brain Circuitry

Jimmy Harris, Postdoctoral Fellow
Project: Chronic Neurodegenerative and Neurophysiological Sequela in TBI & Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks to Restore Brain Circuitry

Carla Hernandez, Undergraduate Student
Project: Histological Techniques to Assess Neurotrauma Pathology and Repair Strategies

Ryan Zahalka, Undergraduate Student
Project: Molecular Mechanisms of Axon-Mediated Axon Regeneration, Environmental Control for Bench-Top Mechano-Bioreactor

Ellie Boyle, Undergraduate Student
Project: Tissue Engineering Strategies for Nerve Regeneration

Anthony Parisi, Undergraduate Student
Project: Quantitative Neuropathological Analyses of Rodent and Porcine Tissue Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Joseph Morand, B.S., Research Specialist
Project: In Vivo Efficacy Testing of Tissue Engineered Nerve Grafts for Peripheral Nerve Injury

Emory Kuo, M.S., Predoctoral Fellow
Project: Tissue Engineering for Neuroregeneration, Chronic Neurodegenerative and Neurophysiological Sequela in TBI

Constance Mietus, B.A., Research Specialist
Project: Neural Cell Biophysical Responses in Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury

Joe Frasca, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Project: Chronic neurodegenerative and neurophysiological sequela of closed-head TBI

John A. Wolf, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
Project: Functional Reorganization of Limbic Circuitry After TBI in Swine, Biohybridized Neural Tissue                                                                                         Engineered Constructs for Electrical Interface with Peripheral Nerve

Matthew Weingard, Medical Student, Tulane
Project: Tissue Engineering with Primary Cortical Neurons

Scott Yerganian, Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania
Project: Mechanisms of Axon-Mediated Axon Regeneration

Janid Kiely, Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania
Project: Biomechanics of Concussion: Pathobiological Implications of Acute Cellular Damage

Arshneel Kochar, Medical Student, CWRU  
Project: Tissue Engineering Micro-Conduits for Targeted Axonal Tract Reconstruction 

Billy Lane, Pre-Med, Notre Dame
Project: Mechanisms of Axonal Degeneration in a Swine Model of Closed-Head TBI

Jonathan Yu, Biology, Haverford College
Project: Tissue Engineering Micro-Conduits for Targeted Axonal Tract Reconstruction

Contact Information

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

Apply to join the Cullen Lab

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News and Events

  • Dr. John O’Donnell, a postdoctoral fellow in the Cullen Lab, was awarded a prestigious NRSA (F32) Training Fellowship through the NIH. His project is titled “Modeling Disorders of Consciousness”. Way to go John!
  • The Cullen Lab and collaborators had a poster selected as one of the "Blue Ribbon Highlights" at the International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders in Vancouver, Canada. The poster was titled “Tissue Engineered Nigrostriatal Pathway for Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease”. A write-up about the project in Neurology Today can be found here.
  • Dr. Cullen and collaborators received a major 4-year Merit Review Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs to advance their project “Transplantable Micro-Tissue Engineered Neural Networks to Restore the Nigrostriatal Pathway in Parkinson's Disease”. This exciting project applies cutting-edge tissue engineering and regenerative medicine techniques to build the full nigrostriatal pathway in vitro using human induced pluripotent stem cells, with efficacy testing of these human-scale constructs in a large animal model of Parkinson’s disease. Success of this project over the next several years will enable clinical trials based on precision medicine– rebuilding complex brain networks using a patients own cells and implanting these fully preformed constructs to replace vulnerable pathways lost due to neurodegenerative disease. The co-investigators on this project are Dr. Isaac Chen, Dr. John Wolf, and Dr. John Duda. Way to go team!
  • Dr. Cullen was promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations Dr. Cullen!
  • Congratulations to Laura Struzyna, a Bioengineering Doctoral Candidate in the Cullen Lab, whose winning entry for Penn's "Art in Science" competition was featured on the NIH Director's Blog! https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2016/12/15/snapshots-of-life-wired-for-nerve-regeneration/#more-7232
  • The Cullen Lab and collaborators at Penn (Drs. Isaac Chen, Douglas Smith, and John Wolf) and Rutgers University (Drs. Joachim Kohn and Hilton Kaplan) were awarded a 3-year, $2.1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Dept. of Defense on "Tissue Engineering Strategies to Maintain Distal Target Efficacy and Promote Full Functional Recovery Following Major Peripheral Nerve Injury".
  • The Cullen Lab and collaborators had two abstracts selected as “Hot Topics” (top 2% of submissions) for presentation in a platform session at the World Parkinson’s Congress meeting in Portland, OR. Carolyn Keating, a Neuroscience doctoral candidate, presented "Diffuse Brain Injury in Swine Causes Plasmalemmal Dysruption and α-Synuclein Over-Expression in the Substantia Nigra". Dr. John Duda presented "Can Living Micro-Tissue Engineered Axonal Tracts Reconstruct the Nigrostriatal Pathway in PD?"
  • Dr. Cullen had the honor of being selected as one of "3 People to Watch in Neuroscience in 2016" by STAT News (Health, Medicine, and Biotech publication): https://www.statnews.com/2015/12/23/three-to-watch-brain-science/.
  • Congratulations to Laura Struzyna, a Bioengineering Doctoral Candidate in the Cullen Lab, who won second place in the Perelman School of Medicine 2016 "Art in Science" Competition. The winning image is shown here.
  • Penn and the Journal of Neural Engineering put out a press release for our most recent manuscript describing the Cullen Lab's novel micro-tissue engineered neural networks to restore brain circuitry. Link: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2016/01/cullen/
  • Carla Winter, and undergraduate researcher in the Cullen Lab for the past 3 years, was selected as a George J. Mitchell Scholar (one of only 12 in the U.S.): http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-students-phillip-cohen-and-carla-winter-named-george-j-mitchell-scholarsThis is very prestigious and well-deserved honor. Way to go Carla!
  • Dr. Cullen had the honor of giving a TED-style talk at Penn’s Annual Neuroscience Public Lecture Series on Neuroengineering: Where Biology Meets Technology. Dr. Cullen discussed the lab’s pioneering work on "Restoring Nervous System Structure and Function With Tissue Engineered 'Living Scaffolds'” (YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl98Eb36lD4).
  • The Cullen Lab and collaborators Dr. John Wolf, Dr. Misha Serruya, Dr. Brain Litt, Dr. Reuben Kraft and Dr. Isaac Chen were awarded a 3-year, $2 million dollar cooperative agreement (U01) from the NIH to further pioneer "Biological 'Living Electrodes' Using Tissue Engineered Axonal Tracts to Probe and Modulate the CNS".
  • The Cullen Lab received a 2-year grant from the U.S. Dept. of Defense to advance "Novel Tissue-Engineered Nerve Grafts for Repair of Currently Untreatable Peripheral Nerve Injury".
  • Bioengineering Ph.D. Candidate, Kritika Katiyar, was selected for a prestigious NRSA F31 Graduate Research Fellowship through the National Institutes of Health based on her proposal for "Molecular Mediators of Axon-Facilitated Axon Regeneration."
  • Dayo Adewole, a Bioengineering Ph.D. student in the Cullen Lab, was awarded a 3-year Graduate Research Fellowship through the National Science Foundation to develop next-generation neuroprosthetic interfaces. Way to go Dayo!
  • The Cullen Lab and collaborators Dr. John Duda, Dr. Isaac Chen, and Dr. John Wolf were awarded a 2-year grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for the project "Restoring the Nigrostriatal Pathway with Living Micro-Tissue Engineered Axonal Tracts".

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