I am currently a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Sarah Heilshorn in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and co-advised by Dr. Giles Plant in the Department of Neurosurgery. My current focus is on improving cell transplantation therapies after spinal cord injury using novel biomaterial design approaches in order to improve functional regeneration. Cell transplantation therapies have shown promise in treating the cellular voids that form after spinal cord injury that prevent functional recovery. Unfortunately, direct injection to the site of injury suffers from poor survival and engraftment of the transplanted cells, limiting their therapeutic efficacy. Therefore, my recent research aims to develop injectable materials that both protects cells during injection and promotes cell engraftment with host tissue, as well as design novel synthetic "cells" , or delivery vehicles, that can provide the necessary biochemical support of transplanted cells without the need for cell survival. I received my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Saint Louis University in 2010 where I studied the effects of synthetic matrix mechanical and biochemical properties on nerve regeneration. My doctoral work was completed in 2014 in the laboratory of Dr. Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert at Washington University in St. Louis, where I studied novel combinatorial strategies of cell transplantation and drug delivery therapies for treating peripheral nerve injury.