Dr. Laura Smith Callahan, Ph.D.

Dr. Laura Smith Callahan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery & Center for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine

Email Address: Laura.A.SmithCallahan@uth.tmc.edu
Phone Number: 713-500-3431
Room Number: SRB 630F


Dr. Smith Callahan received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Toledo, M.S in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in biotechnology and tissue engineering from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan.  Her thesis work, under the direction of Peter X. Ma, focused on the effects of nanofibrous scaffolding on the osteogenic differentiation of embryonic stem cells.  After completing her thesis, Dr. Smith Callahan was awarded a 1 year post-doctoral fellowship on the Regenerative Science T90 training grant which allowed her to study further the effects of nanofibrous scaffolding on the neural differentiation of embryonic stem cells.

Desiring additional training in peptide and polymer chemistry and soft material characterization, Dr. Smith Callahan transitioned to a post-doctoral position at the Institute of Polymer Science at the University of Akron with Matthew L. Becker.  At the University of Akron, her work focused on the effects of bioactive peptides and gradient hydrogels on stem cell differentiation to mesenchymal and neuronal lineages. 

Dr. Smith Callahan brings a combination of expertise in polymeric synthesis and processing, tissue engineering and stem cell biology.  Her research interests include tissue engineering, the effect of cell-material interactions on cellular differentiation and tissue formation, cell sources for tissue engineering applications and scaffold development focusing on applications relevant to the repair of the central nervous and musculoskeletal systems after injury.

Research Projects

      • Optimize mechanical properties and signaling moiety concentration in scaffolds utilizing combinatorial methods.
      • Development of multi-component scaffolds to facilitate tissue regeneration through better replication of the native extracellular matrix
      • Development of optimized culture surfaces for stem cell differentiation to clinically applicable cell populations.

Selected Publications

Smith Callahan LA, Childers EP, Benard, SL, Weiner, SD, Becker ML. (2013) Maximizing Phenotype Constraint and ECM Production in Primary Human Chondrocytes Using RGD Concentration Gradient Hydrogels. Acta Biomaterialia.  9 (7): 7240-7428.   

Smith Callahan LA §, Ma Y §, Stafford CM, Becker ML. (2013) Concentration Dependent Neural Differentiation and Neurite Extension of mouse ESC on Primary Amine-derivatized Surfaces. Biomaterials Science.  1(5):537-544. § both authors contributed equally to the work.

Zheng J, Smith Callahan LA, Hao J, Guo K, Wesdemiotis C, Weiss RA, Becker ML. (2012) Strain-Promoted Cross-Linking of PEG-Based Hydrogels via Copper-Free Cycloaddition. ACS Macro Letters. 1:1071-1073.

Smith Callahan LA, Ganios AM, McBurney DL, Dilisio MF, Weiner, SD, Horton Jr WE, Becker ML. (2012) ECM Production of Primary Human and Bovine Chondrocyte in Hybrid PEG Hydrogels Containing Type I Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid. Biomacromolecules. 13(5): 1625-1631

Hu J, Smith LA, Feng K, Liu X, Sun H, Ma PX. (2010) Response of Human Embryonic Stem Cells Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Osteogenic Factors and Architectures of Materials during in vitro Osteogenesis. Tissue Engineering Part A. 16(11):3507-3514.

Smith LA, Liu X, Hu J, Ma PX. (2010) The Enhancement of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Osteogenic Differentiation with Nano-fibrous Scaffolding. Biomaterials 31(21): 5526-5539.

Smith LA, Liu X, Hu J, Wang P, Ma PX. (2009) Enhancing the Osteogenic Differentiation of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells by Nanofibers. Tissue Engineering Part A 15 (7): 1855-1864.

Smith LA, Liu X, Hu J, Ma PX. (2009) The Influence of Three-Dimensional Nanofibrous Scaffolds on the Osteogenic Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells. Biomaterials  30 (13):  2516-2522.

Liu X, Smith LA, Hu J, Ma PX.  (2009) Biomimetic Nanofibrous Gelatin/Apatite Composite Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering. Biomaterials  30 (12): 2252-2258.

Chen VJ, Smith LA, Ma PX. (2006) Bone regeneration on computer-designed nano-fibrous scaffolds. Biomaterials 27 (21): 3973-3979.