Shruti Kolli

Student NameShruti Kolli
Faculty Mentor NameChristine E. Schmidt, Ph.D.
CollegeHerbert Wertheim College of Engineering
MajorPublic Health
Research InterestsRegenerative Medicine, Biomaterials
Academic AwardsBenacquisto Scholar, Deans List status 2019-present, University Scholar 2020
OrganizationsCenter for Undergraduate Research Board of Students, Interdisciplinary Clinical and Academic Program, Period Movement, Vegan Eating for Gator, UF APSA
Hobbies and InterestsBaking, Visual arts, Plant-based activism

Research Project

Development and Assessment of an Injectable Hydrogel for Effective Secretome Delivery?

Spinal cord injury (SCI) affects over a quarter million people in the United States, and there is currently no clinical treatment. Cell therapy has become an increasingly promising therapeutic strategy for SCI repair, especially through the use of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). ASCs pose an advantage in cell therapy due to their immunosuppressive properties, low immunogenicity, ability to differentiate into various cell types, and ease of obtaining with minimally invasive clinical procedures. ASCs are known to secrete a variety of pro-regenerative growth factors and cytokines into the extracellular space, called the “secretome,” which could be a potential cell-free therapy for regeneration after SCI. An important issue that remains with therapy for SCI involves the method of delivery of the treatment to the lesion site. Injectable hydrogels derived from the extracellular matrix provide a potentially efficacious and minimally invasive delivery method. This project is important because it can lead to a potentially effective therapy for SCI repair that enhances neural regeneration. It is hypothesized that injectable hydrogels can be derived from decellularized peripheral nerve tissues and used for sustained release of the ASC secretome while preserving secretome composition. The expectation is to develop and characterize an optimized hydrogel composition for secretome delivery that is biocompatible in vitro and in vivo, supports neural regeneration, and effectively preserves the ASC secretome.