The Seidlits lab works to design matrix-mimetic biomaterials for engineering tissues of the central nervous system (CNS). We work with hyaluronic acid (HA), a major component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the CNS, as a base material to create ex vivo models of brain and tumor tissues. I will discuss our work modeling glioblastoma (GBM), the most lethal, yet common, cancer originating in the brain. We have developed HA-based culture platforms that provide a controlled experimental context in which to characterize how the ECM microenvironment facilitates GBM tumor aggression. These biomaterial-based cultures of patient-derived GBM cells can model several aspects of clinical tumors, including 1) kinetics of acquired resistance to chemotherapies and 2) vasculature-associated infiltration. In addition, I will discuss our work developing injectable scaffolds to interface with the spinal cord and deliver potent biological therapies, such as genetic vectors and stem cells, to promote regeneration after injury.
Stephanie Seidlits is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University Texas at Austin. Dr. Seidlits' research seeks to develop multifaceted therapies for the central nervous system that utilize biomaterial platforms to both model and directly alter the pathological microenvironment. She obtained a B.S. in Bioengineering from Rice University and went on to receive both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from the UT-Austin under the mentorship of Dr. Christine Schmidt and Dr. Jason Shear. Dr. Seidlits then trained as an NIH NRSA post-doctoral fellow in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University under the mentorship of Dr. Lonnie Shea. Dr. Seidlits was honored with an NSF CAREER Award, the 2019 Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award, a 2019 Biomedical Engineering Society Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, and a 2020 Rising Star in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society.