Tracy Cui, PhD (pictured), McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member and an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. The CAREER Program is an NSF Foundation-wide activity that offers prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. The NSF hopes that these activities build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.
Dr. Cui’s project is titled “Manipulating Stem Cells Via Electroactive Conductive Polymers.” Her award of $390,000 over 4 years is to study how to control and direct the growth, differentiation, and functional integration of stem cells within a tissue. The project seeks to develop a technology platform that can be used to study material-neural tissue interaction with a specific emphasis on the differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells. The resultant technology would allow scientists to answer the predominant questions regarding neural stem cell growth and neural tissue regeneration, namely, whether stem cells can become functional cells on an engineered surface and, if so, under what circumstances.
Dr. Cui’s work also includes an educational component that will bring more impact to the rapidly growing field of neural engineering by promoting the engagement of scientists, engineers, and clinicians; it will work to attract more young talent to the field in order to provide multidisciplinary training and research experience.
Dr. Cui joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2003 following an assignment at Unilever as a research scientist working on skin biomaterials and tribology. She earned her PhD at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2002.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Pitt Chronicle (07/21/08)
Bio: Tracy Cui, PhD