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Faculty & Research

Drew Sellers

Faculty Photo

Research Assistant Professor


We are inventing the future of medicine by developing powerful new peptides for drug delivery into the central nervous system, hydorgels that “sense” and “respond” to the tissue micro-environment, and stem cell reprogramming strategies to drive neurogenesis in the injured spinal cord.  These technologies have the potential to revolutionize treatments for post-traumatic injury and neurodegenerative disease in the CNS such as ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Brain or Spinal Cord Injury.

Despite possessing a resident pool of neural stem cells, the mammalian brain and spinal cord shows a limited ability to regenerate damaged tissue after traumatic injury.  Instead, injury initiates a cascade of events that direct reactive gliosis to wall off an injury with a glial scar to mitigate damage and preserve function. My current research interests explore approaches to re-engineer the stem cell niche, to utilize gene-therapy and genome editing approaches to reprogram and engineer stem cells directly, and to enhance drug delivery into the central nervous system (CNS) to drive regenerative strategies that augment functional recovery in the diseased or traumatically injured CNS.


  • Ph.D., Molecular and Cell Biology, Oregon State University, 2001
  • B.S., Biology, The College of Idaho, 1994

Select publications

  1. Choi, J.L., Tan, J-K. J., Sellers, D.L., Wie, H., Horner, P.J., Pun, S.H. (2015). Guanidinylated block copolymers for gene transfer: A comparison of in vitro and in vivo gene transfer efficiency. Biomaterials, 54(C), 87–96. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.03.008
  2. Sellers, D.L., Kim, T.H., Mount, C., Pun, S.H., and Horner, P.J. (2014). Poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid microspheres encapsulated in Pluronic F-127 prolong hirudin delivery and improve functional recovery from a demyelination lesion. Biomaterials, 35(31), 8895–8902. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.06.051.
  3. Chu, D.S.H. and Sellers, D.L., Bocek M.J., Fischedick A.E., Horner, P.J., and Pun, S.H. (2014). MMP9-sensitive polymers mediate environmentally-responsive bivalirudin release and thrombin inhibition. (2015). Biomater Sci 3(1), 41–45. doi:10.1039/C4BM00259H
  4. Wei, H., Volpatti, L. R., Sellers, D. L., Maris, D. O., Andrews, I. W., Hemphill, A. S., et al. (2013). Dual Responsive, Stabilized Nanoparticles for Efficient In Vivo Plasmid Delivery. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 52(20) 5377-5381
  5. Powers, B. E., Sellers, D.L., Lovelett E. A., Cheung W., Aalami S. P., Zapertov N., Maris, D.O., Horner, P.J. (2013). Remyelination reporter reveals prolonged refinement of spontaneously regenerated myelin. Prod Natl Acad Sci 110(10):4075-4080
  6. Sellers, D.L., Maris, D.O., Horner, P.J. (2009). Post-injury Niches Induce Temporal Shifts in Progenitor Fates to Direct Lesion Repair after Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of Neuroscience 29(20):6722-33
  7. Petit, A., Sellers, D.L., Liebl, D.J., Tessier-Levigne, M., Kennedy, T.E., Horner, P.J. (2007) Adult spinal cord porgenitor cells are repelled by netrin-1 in the embryonic and injured adult spinal cord. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104(45):17837-4.