Dr. Willerth is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Canada Research Chair at the University of Victoria. During 2017, she served as the Acting Director of the Centre for Biomedical Research and as the President of the Canadian Biomaterials Society. She is also a member of the Centre for Advanced Materials & Related Technology and a Principal Investigator at ICORD. She obtained her S.B. in biology and another in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her M.S. and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering were completed at Washington University and she pursued her NIH supported Post-Doctoral Fellowship in bioengineering and chemical engineering at the University of California.
When cells are transplanted into the harsh environment of injured tissue very few survive. Dr. Willerth’s research works to make scaffolds which can increase the survival of these cells. The biomaterial scaffolds can be used in combination with stem cell therapies as a potential strategy for regeneration and improving functional recovery.
Dr. Willerth enjoys working at ICORD because it enables her to work with a variety of scientists, each with their own unique perspective on how to address the challenges associated with SCI. Her lab is located in the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine campus on Vancouver Island, where she shares space with other biomedical researchers. She appreciates the shared lab space because it allows “real interdisciplinary research.”