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Kara Spiller

Kara Spiller, PhD

URBN Professor of Biomedical Innovation

Office: Bossone 712
Phone: 215.571.3822


Dr. Kara Spiller is a Professor in Drexel University's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems. Her research interests include the role of immune cells in tissue repair and regeneration, the design of immunomodulatory biomaterials, and international engineering education. Her research is funded by the NIH, the NSF, and private foundations. Her awards include a Fulbright fellowship, the NSF CAREER award, and the United States Dept. of State ASPIRE prize.


  • PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University, 2010
  • BS/MS, Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University, 2007

Research Interests

Macrophage-biomaterial interactions, drug delivery systems, and chronic wound healing.


  • Spiller KL, Nassiri S, Witherel CE, Anfang RR, Ng J, et al. Sequential delivery
    of immunomodulatory cytokines to facilitate the M1-to-M2 transition of
    macrophages and enhance vascularization of bone scaffolds. Biomaterials. 2015;
    37:194-207. NIHMSID: NIHMS638428 PubMed [journal] PMID: 25453950, PMCID:
  • Spiller KL, Freytes DO, Vunjak-Novakovic G. Macrophages modulate engineered human
    tissues for enhanced vascularization and healing. Annals of biomedical
    engineering. 2015; 43(3):616-27. NIHMSID: NIHMS636869 PubMed [journal] PMID:
    25331098, PMCID: PMC4380684
  • Microscale Technologies for Cell Engineering Applications
    Pentecost A, Lurier E, Spiller, Kara L.
    Singh A, Gaharwar A, editors. New York, NY: Springer; 2015. Nanoparticulate
    systems for controlling monocyte/macrophage behavior
    My Bibliography [book]
  • Nassiri S, Zakeri I, Weingarten MS, Spiller KL. Relative Expression of
    Proinflammatory and Antiinflammatory Genes Reveals Differences between Healing
    and Nonhealing Human Chronic Diabetic Foot Ulcers. The Journal of investigative
    dermatology. 2015; 135(6):1700-3. PubMed [journal] PMID: 25647438
  • Spiller KL, Vunjak-Novakovic G. Clinical translation of controlled protein
    delivery systems for tissue engineering. Drug delivery and translational
    research. 2015; 5(2):101-15. NIHMSID: NIHMS448500 PubMed [journal] PMID:
    25787736, PMCID: PMC4311895
  • Biomaterials in Regenerative Medicine and the Immune System
    Yu,Tony,, Tutwiler,Valerie,J, Spiller,Kara,L.
    Santambrogio L, editor. Switzerland: Springer; 2015. The role of macrophages in
    the foreign body response to implanted biomaterials424p.
    My Bibliography [book]
  • Reeves AR, Spiller KL, Freytes DO, Vunjak-Novakovic G, Kaplan DL. Controlled
    release of cytokines using silk-biomaterials for macrophage polarization.
    Biomaterials. 2015; 73:272-83. NIHMSID: NIHMS725177 PubMed [journal] PMID:
    26421484, PMCID: PMC4605898
  • Spiller KL, Wrona EA, Romero-Torres S, Pallotta I, Graney PL, et al. Differential
    Gene Expression in Human, Murine, and Cell Line-derived Macrophages upon
    Polarization. Experimental cell research. 2015; PubMed [journal] PMID: 26500109
  • Spiller KL, Anfang RR, Spiller KJ, Ng J, Nakazawa KR, et al. The role of
    macrophage phenotype in vascularization of tissue engineering scaffolds.
    Biomaterials. 2014; 35(15):4477-88. NIHMSID: NIHMS568909 PubMed [journal] PMID:
    24589361, PMCID: PMC4000280
  • A Tissue Regeneration Approach to Bone Repair
    Nassiri S, Graney PL, Spiller KL.
    Zreiqat H, Rosen V, editors. Switzerland: Springer; 2014. Manipulation of
    macrophages to enhance bone repair and regeneration
    My Bibliography [book]
  • Gadjanski I, Yodmuang S, Spiller K, Bhumiratana S, Vunjak-Novakovic G.
    Supplementation of exogenous adenosine 5'-triphosphate enhances mechanical
    properties of 3D cell-agarose constructs for cartilage tissue engineering. Tissue
    engineering. Part A. 2013; 19(19-20):2188-200. PubMed [journal] PMID: 23651296,
    PMCID: PMC3761430
  • Gadjanski I, Spiller K, Vunjak-Novakovic G. Time-dependent processes in stem
    cell-based tissue engineering of articular cartilage. Stem cell reviews. 2012;
    8(3):863-81. NIHMSID: NIHMS393758 PubMed [journal] PMID: 22016073, PMCID:
  • Spiller KL, Liu Y, Holloway JL, Maher SA, Cao Y, et al. A novel method for the
    direct fabrication of growth factor-loaded microspheres within porous
    nondegradable hydrogels: controlled release for cartilage tissue engineering.
    Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release
    Society. 2012; 157(1):39-45. PubMed [journal] PMID: 21930167
  • Spiller KL, Holloway JL, Gribb ME, Lowman AM. Design of semi-degradable hydrogels
    based on poly(vinyl alcohol) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) for cartilage
    tissue engineering. Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
    2011; 5(8):636-47. PubMed [journal] PMID: 21774087
  • Spiller KL, Maher SA, Lowman AM. Hydrogels for the repair of articular cartilage
    defects. Tissue engineering. Part B, Reviews. 2011; 17(4):281-99. PubMed
    [journal] PMID: 21510824, PMCID: PMC3171151
  • Holloway JL, Spiller KL, Lowman AM, Palmese GR. Analysis of the in vitro swelling
    behavior of poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogels in osmotic pressure solution for soft
    tissue replacement. Acta biomaterialia. 2011; 7(6):2477-82. PubMed [journal]
    PMID: 21329769
  • Spiller KL, Laurencin SJ, Lowman AM. Characterization of the behavior of porous
    hydrogels in model osmotically-conditioned articular cartilage systems. Journal
    of biomedical materials research. Part B, Applied biomaterials. 2009;
    90(2):752-9. PubMed [journal] PMID: 19274725
  • Charlton DC, Peterson MG, Spiller K, Lowman A, Torzilli PA, et al.
    Semi-degradable scaffold for articular cartilage replacement. Tissue engineering.
    Part A. 2008; 14(1):207-13. NIHMSID: NIHMS96356 PubMed [journal] PMID: 18333818,
    PMCID: PMC2705060
  • Spiller KL, Laurencin SJ, Charlton D, Maher SA, Lowman AM. Superporous hydrogels
    for cartilage repair: Evaluation of the morphological and mechanical properties.
    Acta biomaterialia. 2008; 4(1):17-25. PubMed [journal] PMID: 18029236