Northwestern Medicine scientists have developed a molecular “scaffold” capable of enhancing electrical activity and growth in neurons, which may prove useful in treating spinal cord injuries, according to recent results published in ACS Nano.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, 17,730 new spinal cord injuries are diagnosed each year, and an estimated 291,000 people live with spinal cord injuries in the U.S.
Injury to the central nervous system, including spinal cord injuries, often results in long-term nervous system dysfunction, as those neurons have limited ability to regenerate. The current study investigated new approaches to enhance that regrowth process, according to Samuel Stupp, PhD, the Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering, who was senior author of the study… Continue reading.
Scientists have developed a new method that allows them to grow mature nerve cells from stem cells — a technique that could be applied to study diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
“For the first time, we have been able to see adult-onset neurological protein aggregation in the stem cell-derived ALS patient motor neurons. This represents a breakthrough,” Evangelos Kiskinis, PhD, co-author of the study, said in a university press release. Kiskinis is a professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
The method also also have applications in the development of cell replacement therapies for ALS and other neurological disorders, researchers say… Continue reading.
Professor Samuel Stupp welcomes congressional champions of biomedical research to his Northwestern lab
Professor Samuel Stupp welcomed U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin and Northwestern President Morton Schapiro to his lab recently to discuss his research in the area of regenerative medicine and a new injectable therapy that harnesses “dancing molecules” to reverse paralysis and repair tissue after severe spinal cord injuries.
Duckworth of Illinois and Langevin of Rhode Island have been champions in Congress for Americans with disabilities as well as biomedical research… Continue reading.
Northwestern University investigators have developed a new injectable therapy that harnesses “dancing molecules” to reverse paralysis and repair tissue after severe spinal cord injuries. In the new study, published in Science, investigators administered a single injection to tissues surrounding the spinal cords of paralyzed mice. Just four weeks later, the animals regained the ability to walk.
By sending bioactive signals to trigger cells to repair and regenerate, the breakthrough therapy dramatically improved severely injured spinal cords in five key ways: (1) The severed extensions of neurons, called axons, regenerated; (2) scar tissue, which can create a physical barrier to regeneration and repair, significantly diminished; (3) myelin, the insulating layer of axons that is important in transmitting electrical signals efficiently reformed around cells; (4) functional blood vessels formed to deliver nutrients to cells at the injury site; and (5) more motor neurons survived… Continue reading.
A team of researchers from MIT and Northwestern University has demonstrated the ability to fine-tune the electronic properties of hybrid perovskite materials, which have drawn enormous interest as potential next-generation optoelectronic materials for devices such as solar cells and light sources.
The materials are classified as “hybrid” because they contain inorganic components like metals, as well as organic molecules with elements like carbon and nitrogen, organized into nanoscale layers. In a paper published online this week in Nature Chemistry, the researchers showed that by strategically varying the composition of the organic layers, they could tune the color of light absorbed by the perovskite and also the wavelength at which the material emitted light. Importantly, they accomplished this without substantially changing the inorganic component… Continue reading.
Three Northwestern University faculty members — mathematician Laura DeMarco, engineer Yonggang Huang and materials scientist Samuel Stupp — have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Membership in the academy is one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States.
DeMarco, Huang and Stupp are among 120 new members and 26 new international members elected this year in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. They will be inducted at the academy’s annual meeting next year.
Stupp is Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering in McCormick and Weinberg College.
Stupp’s work integrates chemistry with materials science, biology and medicine. The overarching interest of his research group is the development of self-assembling organic materials, focusing on functions relevant to energy and medicine. One of his landmark achievements was the development of bioactive materials that can signal cells and be used in novel therapies for regenerative medicine.
He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Spanish Royal Academy, and the National Academy of Inventors, and a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Materials Research Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Stupp directs the Simpson Querrey Institute and its two affiliated research centers, the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science and the Center for Regenerative Nanomedicine… Continue reading.
Nanostructures could safely deliver a notoriously fragile drug to virus
Researchers are developing new peptide-based therapeutics for targeting and disabling the coronavirus’ so-called “spike proteins.”
Spike proteins — the crown of bulbous projections that give the coronavirus its signature halo effect — attach to and infect healthy cells, causing COVID-19. Led by Northwestern University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the research team is engineering a new nanostructured therapy that could potentially disable the virus and prevent its infection of human cells.
The idea is based on a recent discovery from the laboratory of Bradley L. Pentelute, an associate professor of chemistry at MIT. Pentelute’s team discovered a peptide molecule that specifically and strongly binds to the coronavirus’ spike protein… Continue reading.
DNA strands in materials act like traffic signals to start, stop cell activity or regenerate tissue
A groundbreaking advancement in materials from Northwestern University could potentially help patients requiring stem cell therapies for spinal cord injuries, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritic joints or any other condition requiring tissue regeneration, according to a new study.
“It’s important in the context of cell therapies for people to cure these diseases or regenerate tissues that are no longer functional,” said senior author Samuel I. Stupp, director of Northwestern’s Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology and Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine and Biomedical Engineering.
The study was published today, July 10, in Nature Communications.
Cells in our bodies are constantly being signaled with many types of instructions coming from proteins and other molecules present in the matrices that surround them. For example, these can be cues for cells to express specific genes so they can proliferate or differentiate into several types of cells leading to growth or regeneration of tissues. One of the marvels of this signaling machinery is the built-in capacity in living organisms to make signals stop and re-start as needed, or to switch off one signal and activate a different one to orchestrate very complex processes. Building artificial materials with this type of dynamic capacity for regenerative therapies has been virtually impossible so far.
The new work published today reports the development of the first synthetic material that has the capability to trigger reversibly this type of dynamic signaling. The platform could not only lead to materials that manage stem cells for more effective regenerative therapies, but will also allow scientists to explore and discover in the laboratory new ways to control the fate of cells and their functions… Continue reading.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Samuel Stupp, Ph.D., Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering, Director Simpson Querrey Institute, Director Center for Bio-inspired Energy Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Stupp was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows For the development of bioactive and self-assembling supramolecular biomaterials for regenerative medicine.