Research Mentor Name

Dr. Jean Peduzzi-Nelson

Research Mentor Email Address

Institution / Department

Wayne State University

Document Type

Research Abstract

Research Type


Level of Research



Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes devastating lifestyle and financial consequences for the patient. Treatment strategies emphasize neuroprotection, but not regeneration. In this regard, stem cells are an innovative field of study that has the potential to regenerate neural tissue, thereby increasing a person’s ability to regain function. The purpose of this project is two-fold: to attain olfactory stem cells located in the nasal canal in a minimally-invasive way and to gather neural cells from the epithelium and mesenchymal cells in the lamina propria. Cells were gathered with sterile nasal micro-brushes, stored, and grown in flasks. After cells reached confluency, they underwent immunofluorescence using antibodies specific for location and characteristics. Additionally, samples were sorted magnetically to confirm epithelial and mesenchymal cells. A cell count was taken before and after sorting. Immunofluorescence showed the presence of cells that expressed cell markers tested. There was consistent overlap between cell markers and antibodies. Cell count for magnetic sorting yielded total count of 2.45x10^6 cells with viability of 93.9%. Magnetic sorting yielded percentage of cells expressing CD90 of 57.1% and cells expressing CD54 of 24.5%. This experiment shows the presence of both epithelial and mesenchymal stem cells gathered via sterile micro-brush nasal swabbing. This represents a minimally-invasive way to gather neural and mesenchymal stem cells. We show that expanding nasal cell samples in culture resulted in both types of cells. Future research should include application into spinal cord injured populations.


Biological Phenomena, Cell Phenomena, and Immunity | Medical Biotechnology | Neurology | Neurosciences | Other Medical Sciences | Other Medical Specialties


Jean Peduzzi, Ph.D. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences and devoted most of her career searching for treatments for chronic severe spinal cord injury. She has testified at numerous Senate sub-committees on the merits of adult stem cells.

Tyler Petersen. A fourth-year medical student, Tyler Petersen is pursuing the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation medical specialty. Before medical school, Tyler enjoyed an extensive career as a physical trainer and strength coach, working with clients in both pre-habilitative and sports performance environments