Stephanie Seidlits

Stephanie Seidlits


5121H Engineering V

Phone: (310) 267-5244


Focused at the interface of engineering, neuroscience and medicine, our research seeks to develop clinical therapies for central nervous system (CNS) injury and disorders, including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and glioma formation. Using biomaterial microenvironments and advanced imaging tools, we aim to identify differences between the extracellular environment of diseased and healthy or developing and adult CNS tissues and exploit these mechanistic discoveries to develop novel therapies that target the local environment. Engineered microenvironments enable ex vivo investigation of key physiological players within conditions that approximate those in vivo so that physiologically relevant data can be obtained in a simplified context. Ultimately, this approach enables the development of new therapeutic strategies based on controlled manipulation of these players. The long-term goal of this research is to translate biomaterial microenvironments to in vivo regenerative therapies using hydrogels, gene and protein delivery and cell replacement as building blocks. 1.Regenerative Strategies for Spinal Cord Injury Repair. This project aims to develop hydrogel-based microenvironments engineered to mimic the native, healthy spinal cord and promote functional regeneration of injured tissue. These microenvironments are designed to administer combinatorial therapies that address multiple barriers to spinal cord repair by incorporating guidance architecture, substrate-immobilized factors, genetically encoded regulatory factors, and cell replacement. 2.Quantitative, Dynamic and High-Throughput Analysis of Oligodendrocyte Differentiation in the Central Nervous System. A major factor contributing to the failure of repair after spinal cord injury is an inhibition of oligodendrocyte differentiation by the local, in vivo microenvironment. As the process of oligodendrocyte differentiation is not well understood, there is a need to identify the parameters required to direct oligodendrocyte differentiation. Performing high-throughput arrays to dynamically monitor intracellular signaling processes on multiple tissue scales (single cell and population) and functional levels (initial signaling pathway activation and protein expression) will dramatically enhance our understanding of the microenvironmental parameters required to effectively drive oligodendrocyte differentiation and will significantly augment our ability to design of biomaterial therapeutics mediate spinal cord repair. 3.Screening of Drug Targets for Treatmentof Glioblastoma Multiforme: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an extremely aggressive cancer that is typically unresponsive to currently available pharmacological agents. It has been hypothesized that the unique extracellular environment of the brain renders tumor cells unresponsive to chemotherapy. Using a library of library lentivirus-based reporters for transcription factor activity, we aim to identify intracellular signals that differ when GBM tumor cells or native glial cells are cultured in hydrogel microenvironments in which the chemical composition and mechanical stiffness can be finely tuned to mimic both the healthy and cancerous brain. The major goal of these studies is to identify key differences in the extracellular environment surrounding GBM that impart drug resistance with the goal of discovering develop novel, highly effective therapeutic agents.
  1. C.M. Walthers, S.K. Seidlits. (2015) Gene delivery strategies for spinal cord repair. Biomarkers Insights, Suppl 1: 11-29.
  2. A.M. Thomas*, S.K. Seidlits*, (co-first authors*), A.G. Goodman, T.V. Kukushliev, D.M. Hassani, B.J. Cummings, A.J. Anderson, L.D. Shea. (2014) Sonic hedgehog and neurotrophin-3 increase oligodendrocyte numbers and myelination after spinal cord injury. Integrative Biology 6(7):694-705
  3. S.K. Seidlits, K.A. Hlavaty, L.D. Shea. (2014) “DNA delivery for regeneration” in Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, ed. P.X. Ma. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA.
  4. S.K. Seidlits, R.M. Gower, J.A. Shepard, L.D. Shea. (2013) Hydrogels for lentiviral gene delivery. Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, 10(4):499-509.
  5. A.M. Thomas, M.B. Kubilius, S.J. Holland, S.K. Seidlits, R.M. Boehler, A. J. Anderson, B.J. Cummings, L.D. Shea. (2013) Channel density and porosity of degradable bridging scaffolds on axon growth after spinal injury. Biomaterials 34(9):2213-2220.
  6. Z.Z. Khaing, B.D. Milman, J.E. Vanscoy, S.K. Seidlits, R.J. Grill, C.E. Schmidt. (2011) High MW hyaluronic acid limits astrocyte proliferation and scar formation after SCI. J. Neural Eng. 8(4):046033.
  7. S.K. Seidlits, C.T. Drinnan, R.R. Petersen, J.B. Shear, L.J. Suggs, C.E. Schmidt. (2011) Fibronectin-hyaluronic acid composites for three-dimensional endothelial cell culture. Acta Biomaterialia 7(6):2401-2409.
  8. Y. Yang, S.K. Seidlits, M.M. Adams, Lynch VM, C.E. Schmidt, E.V. Ansyln, J.B. Shear. (2010) A highly selective low-background fluorescent imaging agent for nitric oxide. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132(38):13114-13116.
  9. S.K. Seidlits*, Z.Z. Khaing*, (co-first authors*) R.R. Petersen, J.D. Nickels, J.E. Vanscoy, J.B. Shear†, C.E. Schmidt† (co-corresponding authors†). (2010) The effects of hyaluronic acid hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties on neural progenitor cell differentiation. Biomaterials 31:3930-3940.
  10. S.K. Seidlits, C.E. Schmidt*, J.B. Shear* (co-corresponding authors*). (2009) High-resolution patterning of hydrogels in three dimensions using direct-write photofabrication for cell guidance. Adv. Funct. Mater. 19:3543-3551.
  11. G. Kijanka, R. Barry, H. Chen, E. Gould, S.K. Seidlits, J. Schmid, M. Morgan, D.Y. Mason, J. Cordell, D. Murphy. (2009) Defining the molecular target of an antibody derived from nuclear extract of Jurkat cells using protein arrays. Anal. Biochem. 395(2):119-124.
  12. S.K. Seidlits, J.Y. Lee, C.E. Schmidt. (2008) Nanostructured scaffolds for neural applications. Nanomedicine, 3(2):183-99.
  13. S.K. Seidlits, N.A. Peppas. (2007) “Star polymers and dendrimers in nanotechnology and drug delivery” in Nanotechnology in Therapeutics: Current Technology and Applications, ed. Peppas, N.A., Hilt, J.Z., Thomas, J.B. Horizon Press, pp. 317-348.
  14. F.K. Kasper, S.K. Seidlits, A. Tang, R.S. Crowther, D.H. Carney, M.A. Barry, A.G. Mikos. (2005) In vitro release of plasmid DNA from oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) hydrogels. J Control. Release. 104(3):521-539.
  • B.S., Rice University, 2004
  • M.S., University of Texas, Austin, 2006
  • Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 2010
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern University, 2010-2014.
  • National Science Foundation CAREER award, 2017
  • NIH NRSA F32 Fellowship for Post-Doctoral Training, 2012-2014
  • Best Poster Award (A large-scale, real-time array to assess dynamic changes in intracellular signaling in response to biomaterial-mediated mechanical and adhesive stimuli) in Design of Cell-Instructive Materials Symposium at Materials Research Society Meeting, San Fransisco, CA, 2013
  • Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine-Baxter Early Career Award, Northwestern University, 2010-2012
  • Rice University Outstanding Bioengineering Undergraduate Alumna, 2011
  • Completion of Graduate Portfolio in Cellular and Molecular Imaging for Diagnostics and Therapeutics, University of Texas, Austin, 2010
  • Cockrell School of Engineering THRUST 2000 Fellowship Award, University of Texas, Austin, 2006-2010
  • P.E.O. (Philanthropic Education Organization) International Graduate Scholar Award, 2007-2008
  • NSF IGERT Fellowship in Cellular and Molecular Imaging for Diagnostics and Therapeutics, University of Texas, Austin, 2004-2006