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After receiving a PhD in biomedical engineering, Jacob Koffler wanted to take what he’d learned into a new field where there was a big need for biomedical solutions and research. This desire led him into the field of spinal cord injury repair in 2010, when there wasn’t much being done to advance treatments using the interdisciplinary approach of biomedical engineering. With a strong belief that tissue engineering could contribute to the development of a successful treatment for spinal cord injuries, Dr. Koffler has been working at UC San Diego with this goal in mind. On today’s episode, he discusses the unique technique they’re using to tackle this problem, which involves 3D printing, tissue engineering of scaffolds and longitudinal linear channels, implementation of stem cells to elicit nerve regeneration, and perhaps most importantly, a study of gene expression after regeneration has been elicited, in order to better understand it and promote additional regeneration. He describes the ins and out of the science behind this approach, and also touches on the difference between the peripheral and central nervous system when it comes to nerve regeneration, nerve growth and development in juveniles, the role of stem cells in spinal cord repair, the nature of ongoing studies in the field, and so much more.

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