D. Kacy Cullen, Ph.D.

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Professor of Neurosurgery
Department: Neurosurgery
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Department of Neurosurgery
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
105 Hayden Hall / 3320 Smith Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-8176
Fax: 215-573-3808
B.S. (Mechanical Engineering)
Georgia Institute of Technology, 2000.
M.S. (Mechanical Engineering)
Georgia Institute of Technology, 2002.
Ph.D. (Biomedical Engineering)
Georgia Institute of Technology, 2005.
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Description of Research Expertise

Dr. Cullen is an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery (with tenure) at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Cullen’s research program operates at the intersection of Neural Engineering, Neurotrauma and Regenerative Medicine (http://www.med.upenn.edu/cullenlab/). In the realm of Neurotrauma, the objective is to apply engineering principles to increase our understanding of the causative mechanisms and pathophysiological responses following traumatic injury to the nervous system. Specific attention is given to neural injury biomechanics and mechanisms of acute biophysical cellular/tissue damage. In the arena of Neural Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, the objective is to develop neurotechnology to mitigate trauma-induced deficits or augment the body’s capacity for regeneration. Here focus is given to neural tissue engineering strategies and the development of biohybrid neurobiological-electrical interface technology.

Dr. Cullen is currently an active member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the National Neurotrauma Society, and the Society for Neuroscience. Dr. Cullen also serves on the editorial board of Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering.

Cullen Lab Research Thrusts:

Regenerative Medicine & Neural Tissue Engineering – living scaffolds for neuroregeneration; micro-tissue engineering to restore brain circuitry; biological neuromodulation; “biohybrid” neuroprosthetic interfaces; cell function in 3-D microenvironments; in vitro neural interface microsystems.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) & Neurodegeneration – biomechanics; cell/tissue injury tolerance criteria; blast injury; traumatic proteinopathies; mechanisms of neurophysiological dysfunction; wireless neuromonitoring technology;

Selected Publications

Adewole, D. O., Struzyna, L. A., Harris, J. P., Nemes, A. D., Burrell, J. C., Petrov, D., Kraft, R. H., Chen, H. I., Serruya, M. D., Wolf, J. A., Cullen, D. K.: Development of optically-controlled "living electrodes" with long-projecting axon tracts for a synaptic brain-machine interface Science Advances 7(4): eaay5347, Jan 2021.

Keating, C. E., Browne, K. D., Cullen, D. K. : Dietary manipulation of vulnerability to traumatic brain injury-induced neuronal plasma membrane permeability. Experimental Neurology 340: 113649, Jun 2021.

Katiyar, K. S., Struzyna, L. A. (co-first author), Morand, J. P., Burrell, J. C., Clements, B., Laimo, F. A., Browne, K. D., Kohn, J., Ali, Z., Ledebur, H. C., Smith, D. H., Cullen, D. K.: Tissue engineered axon tracts serve as living scaffolds to accelerate axonal regeneration and functional recovery following peripheral nerve injury in rats. Frontiers in Biotechnology & Bioengineering 8: 492, May 2020.

Das, S., Browne, K. D., Laimo, F. A., Maggiore, J. C., Hilman M. C., Kaiser, H., Aguilar, C. A., Ali, Z. S., Mourkioti, F., Cullen, D. K.: Pre-innervated tissue engineered muscle promotes a pro-regenerative microenvironment following volumetric muscle loss. Nature Communications Biology 3(1): 330, Jun 2020.

Grovola, M. R., Paleologos, N., Wofford, K. L., Harris, J. P., Browne, K. D., Johnson, V. E., Duda, J. E., Wolf, J. A., Cullen, D. K. : Mossy cell hypertrophy and synaptic changes in the hilus following mild diffuse brain injury in pigs. J Neuroinflammation 17(1): 44, 2020.

Keating, C. E. and Cullen, D. K. : Mechanosensation in traumatic brain injury. Neurobiology of Disease 148: 105210, Jan 2021.

Maggiore, J. C., Burrell, J. C. (co-first author), Browne, K. D., Katiyar, K. S., Laimo, F. A., Zarina, A. S., Kaplan, H. M., Rosen, J. M., Cullen, D. K.: Tissue engineered axon-based “living scaffolds” promote survival of spinal cord motor neurons following peripheral nerve repair. J Tissue Engin & Regen Med 14(12): 1892-1907, Dec 2020.

Das, S., Gordián-Vélez, W. (co-first author), Ledebur, H. C., Mourkioti, F., Rompolas, P., Chen, H. I., Serruya, M. D., Cullen, D. K. : Innervation: the missing link for biofabricated tissues and organs. npj Regenerative Medicine 5: 11, Jun 2020.

Cullen, D. K., Gordián-Vélez, W. J., Struzyna, L. A., Jgamadze, D., Lim, J., Wofford, K. L., Browne, K. D., Chen, H. I.: Bundled three-dimensional human axon tracts derived from cerebral organoids. iScience 21: 57-67, Nov 2019.

Struzyna, L. A., Browne, K. D., Brodnik, Z. D., Burrell, J. C., Harris, J. P., Chen, H. I., Wolf, J. A., Panzer, K. V., Lim, J., Duda, J. E., España, R. A., Cullen, D. K.: Tissue engineered nigrostriatal pathway for treatment of Parkinson’s disease. J Tissue Engin & Regen Med 12(7): 1702-16, Jul 2018.

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Last updated: 07/08/2024
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