Willerth, Stephanie

Assistant Professor


Phone number: (250) 721-7303
Email: willerth@uvic.ca
Department: Mechanical Engineering

Research description:

- Tissue engineered scaffolds for promoting stem cell differentiation
- Novel drug delivery systems
- Analyzing mechanisms of stem cell differentiation using next generation sequencing
Expertise Profile
When Dr. Stephanie Willerth was five years old she asked her parents for one of two things for Christmas: a chemistry set or a pair of tickets to a college bowl football game.

Twenty-five years later, Dr. Willerth is an assistant professor in the Biomedical Engineering Program and the head of the University of Victoria's state-of-the-art Willerth Laboratory. She is making advances in a field that has huge medical potential - stem cell bioengineering.

Stem cells are special, powerful cells found in humans and other animals that can replicate into cells to repair and replace damaged tissues.

Stem cell research holds huge potential for the treatment of conditions such as cancer, heart disease and spinal cord injury.

When Dr. Willerth was a graduate student in the US in 2006, her research group was the first to develop a method for studying stem cell behaviour in a 3-D setting. That work used embryonic stem cells, which are the most versatile at reproducing and creating tissue.

At UVic, Dr. Willerth and her team are exploring similar techniques using "pluripotent" adult stem cells, which are adult cells altered to behave like embryonic stem cells.

Dr. Willerth belongs to ICORD (International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries), a BC-based organization dedicated to spinal cord injury research. Her ultimate goal is to restore the function lost to devastating spinal cord injuries.

It may be obvious, but her parents bought her the chemistry set.
Related Links
Dr. Willerth's Faces of UVic Research video: http://youtu.be/b42bBJUFEmM

The Willerth Lab website: http://www.engr.uvic.ca/~willerth/index.shtml

Health related research:

Our group researches ways of engineering neural tissue that could be used to replace diseased or damaged regions of the central nervous system.

Countries lived or worked in:

United States

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