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Using Bioengineering to Understand the Mechanism, Treatment & Prevention of Nervous System Injuries

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

4:00 PM-5:30 PM

BIOMED Seminar

Using Bioengineering to Understand the Mechanism, Treatment & Prevention of Nervous System Injuries

Anita Singh, PhD
Chair and Associate Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Widener University

Treatment and prevention of nervous system injuries require a detailed understanding of the injury mechanisms. In our lab, we use bioengineering approaches, such as biomechanical testing, neurophysiological recordings, immunohistochemistry, and computational modeling to understand central and peripheral nervous system injuries. One area of our research is spinal cord injury. In an existing research project, our team is investigating the outcomes of a combinatorial treatment strategy by injection of bioengineered scaffold (PNIPAAm-PEG) secreting neurotrophins (BDNF+NT3) into the injury site and rehabilitation training using a body weight supported treadmill training (BWSTT) approach in a clinically relevant contusion SCI model. Our studies have reported combinational treatment strategies to result in improved kinematics and physiological responses, then alone treatment.

Another area of our research is to investigate injury threshold values for neonatal brachial plexus palsy, which is a birth-related complication. Using a neonatal piglet animal model, we have reported failure strains and loads that lead to brachial plexus avulsion and rupture injuries. We are currently investigating functional and anatomical changes in the neonatal brachial plexus that can help with diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of neonatal brachial plexus palsy. A detailed understanding of injury mechanisms will lead to promising treatment options that can enhance recovery.

This talk will give a brief overview of these projects and will discuss their future implications and clinical potentials.


Anita Singh, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Widener University in Chester, PA. She is also an affiliate Research Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel University. Dr. Singh earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She then completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia, PA and worked as a Research Associate and the Co-director of Behavior and Biomechanics Core at the Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCoM). Dr. Singh also has industrial experience in a medical device company.

Dr. Singh's research has focused on developing a new model of traumatic axonal injury that offers the possibilities of improving the understanding of white matter tract damage in the brain during and after a traumatic event. Her recent research activities include investigating a new combinatorial treatment strategy using bioengineered scaffolds and robotic training paradigm in spinally contused and transected rats. She is currently involved in understanding the biomechanical, functional and structural injury thresholds for neonatal brachial plexus palsy.

Dr. Singh's work has been published in several journals, including Journal of Biomechanics, Brain Injury, and Journal of Neurotrauma. She has presented and received awards at national and international conferences and is a recipient of the prestigious NSF-CAREER award. Dr. Singh has received additional funding from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.

Contact Information

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Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (PISB), Room 120, located on the northeast corner of 33rd and Chestnut Streets.


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