D. Kacy Cullen, Ph.D.

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Associate 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

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.

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. (eds.). 21: 57-67, Nov 22 2019 Notes: pre-published on bioRxiv 253369 (2018).

O’Donnell, J. C., Katiyar, K. S., Panzer, K. V., Cullen, D. K.: A tissue-engineered rostral migratory stream for directed neuronal replacement. Neural Regen Res 13(8): 1327-1331, 2018.

O’Donnell, J. C., Browne, K. D., Killbaugh, T. J., Chen, H. I., Whyte, J., Cullen, D. K.: Challenges and demand for modeling disorders of consciousness following traumatic brain injury. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 98: 336-346, Mar 2019.

Wofford, K. L., Cullen, D. K., Spiller, K. L. : Modulation of macrophage phenotype via phagocytosis of drug-loaded microparticles Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A 107(6): 1213-1224, June 2019 Notes: [Epub Ahead of Print]

Serruya, M. D., Harris, J. P., Adewole, D. O., Struzyna, L. A., Burrell, J. C., Nemes, A., Petrov, D., Kraft, R. H., Chen, H. I., Wolf, J. A., Cullen, D. K.: Engineered axonal tracts as “living electrodes” for synaptic-based modulation of neural circuitry. Advanced Functional Materials 28(12): 1701183, Sep 2017.

Wofford, K. L., Harris, J. P., Browne, K. D., Brown, D. P., Grovola, M. R., Mietus, C. J., Wolf, J. A., Duda, J. E., Putt, M. E., Spiller, K. L., Cullen, D. K. : Rapid neuroinflammatory response localized to injured neurons after diffuse traumatic brain injury in swine. Experimental Neurology 290: 85-94, Apr 2017.

Struzyna, L. A., Adewole, D. O. (co-first author), Gordián-Vélez, W. J., Grovola, M. R., Burrell, J. C., Katiyar, K. S., Petrov, D., Harris, J. P., Cullen, D. K.: Anatomically-inspired three-dimensional micro-tissue engineered neural networks for nervous system reconstruction, modulation, and modeling. J Vis Exp(123), May 2017 Notes: DOI: 10.3791.55609.

Katiyar, K. S., Winter, C. C., Struzyna, L. A., Harris, J. P., Cullen, D. K. : Mechanical elongation of astrocyte processes to create living scaffolds for nervous system regeneration. J Tissue Engin & Regen Med 11(10): 2731-2751, Oct 2017.

Winter, C. C., Katiyar, K. S. (co-first author), Hernandez, N. S., Song, Y. J., Struzyna, L. A., Harris, J. P., Cullen, D. K.: Transplantable living scaffolds comprised of micro-tissue engineered aligned astrocyte networks to facilitate central nervous system regeneration. Acta Biomaterialia 38: 44-58, Jul 2016.

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Last updated: 05/10/2021
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