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Smith, Tyler

Tyler A Smith

Immunological responses to PEG-fusion repair of severed peripheral nerves

My long term research interests involve the elucidation of complex cellular mechanisms that can be practically applied to the development of new and unique medical treatments for injury and disease. After receiving an BA in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010, I worked as an intern for PuraCath Medical, a medical device company in Berkeley, California that is developing a novel disinfection device for Peritoneal Dialysis catheters. After completing my internship, I volunteered in the lab of Dr. Allan Basbaum at UCSF, where I assisted a Postdoctoral Researcher in studying the grouping of central nervous system neurons connected to afferent nocireceptors in mice in order to understand and identify possible therapeutic targets for persistent pain. Following my volunteership at UCSF, I was employed as an Associate Scientist contractor at Medtronic Cardiovascular in Santa Rosa, California, where I participated in proprietary pre-clinical translational research related to hypertension treatment before entering the Cell and Molecular Biology doctoral program at UT Austin. 

My current  research in Dr. George Bittner's lab is focused on how the use of polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a nerve repair method to re-join (fuse) severed axons can also limit immune rejection of peripheral nerve allografts by altering or reducing cellular responses to injury in rat models. This question is being investigated using immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, RT-qPCR, RNA sequencing, and transmission electron microscopy. The results of these studies will examine cellular mechanisms that might be responsible for the effectiveness of a novel approach to nerve repair that can reduce or prevent rejection of peripheral nerve allografts and may significantly lessen the need for systemic immunosuppression following surgery.


CL Ghergherehchi, GD Bittner1, RLHastings, M Mikesh, DC Riley, RC Trevino, T Schallert, WP Thayer, SR Bhupanapadu Sunkesula, TN Ha, N Munoz, M Pyarali, A Bansal, AD Poon, AT Mazal, TA Smith, NS Wong, PJ Dunne (2016). Effects of extracellular calcium and surgical techniques on restoration of axonal continuity by PEG-fusion following complete cut- or crush-severance of rat sciatic nerves. J Neurosci Res. 94(3): 231–245. doi:10.1002/jnr.23704

Ghergherehchi CL, Mikesh M, Singelaub DR, Jackson DM, Smith T, Nguyen J, Shores JT, Bittner GD (2019). Polyethylene glycol (PEG) and other bioactive solutions with neurorrhaphy for rapid and dramatic repair of peripheral nerve lesions by PEG-fusion. J Neurosci Methods 314: 1-12


BCH369L Biochemistry Laboratory

BIO360K/394M Immunology