Dr. Dena Shahriari

Principal Investigator

B.Sc. [Bioengineering] (University of California Berkeley)
M.Sc. [Chemical Engineering] (Michigan State University)
Ph.D. [Macromolecular Science and Engineering] (University of Michigan)
Post-doctorate (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, School of Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia

Lab Website


Research Interests

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Dr. Dena Shahriari is a biomaterials scientist and a neural engineer. Her research lies at the intersection of materials science, electronic devices, and neuroscience. Dr. Shahriari’s vision is to develop neuroelectronic devices, sensors, and smart biomaterials that will effectively interface and communicate with biological tissues and thus provide new capabilities to study nerve repair mechanisms and augment organ function after paralysis. As a UBC Assistant Professor and a Principal Investigator at ICORD, Dr. Shahriari leads the BioAugmentative Interfaces Laboratory located at ICORD to develop devices for tissue repair and organ augmentation. Her TEDx talk captures not only the essence of her research but also her dedication to transcending disability as well as improving function after spinal cord injury.

Dr. Shahriari especially appreciates ICORD for being a major hub for spinal cord injury research. ICORD is home to a renowned community of scientists, engineers and clinicians focused on spinal cord injury, with state-of-the-art equipment and resources, located in the city of Vancouver that is the birthplace to Rick Hansen’s Man-in-Motion world tour and thus the start of the concept of accessibility. Dr. Shahriari also appreciates ICORD for being an excellent environment to mentor curious minds and sparking excitement in students and trainees to gain knowledge and initiate and conduct breakthrough research.

Major Findings:

Dr. Shahriari’s work has resulted in a technique to mass-produce axon guidance scaffolds that mimic nerve shapes and dimensions to bridge nerve gaps. Her research has also led to the development of a fully implantable and autonomous device to study the effects of optically stimulating axons in the spinal cord on nerve repair using optogenetics.


Some of Dr. Shahriari’s recent major awards and accomplishments include:

  • Craig H. Neilsen Spinal Cord Injury Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship

Highlighted publications

For the full list of publications, please click here.

  • Shahriari D, Rosenfeld D, Anikeeva P. Emerging Frontier of Peripheral Nerve and Organ Interfaces. Neuron. 2020 Oct 28;108(2):270-85. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2020.09.025
  • Shahriari D, Loke G, Tafel I, Park S, Chiang PH, Fink Y, Anikeeva P. Scalable fabrication of porous microchannel nerve guidance scaffolds with complex geometries. Advanced Materials. 2019 Jul;31(30):1902021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201902021
  • Shahriari D, Shibayama M, Lynam DA, Wolf KJ, Kubota G, Koffler JY, Tuszynski MH, Campana WM, Sakamoto JS. Peripheral nerve growth within a hydrogel microchannel scaffold supported by a kink-resistant conduit. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. 2017 Dec;105(12):3392-9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jbm.a.36186
  • Shahriari D, Koffler JY, Tuszynski MH, Campana WM, Sakamoto JS. Hierarchically ordered porous and high-volume polycaprolactone microchannel scaffolds enhanced axon growth in transected spinal cords. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2017 May 1;23(9-10):415-25. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/ten.tea.2016.0378
  • Shahriari D, Koffler J, Lynam DA, Tuszynski MH, Sakamoto JS. Characterizing the degradation of alginate hydrogel for use in multilumen scaffolds for spinal cord repair. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. 2016 Mar;104(3):611-9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jbm.a.35600
  • Lynam DA, Shahriari D, Wolf KJ, Angart PA, Koffler J, Tuszynski MH, Chan C, Walton P, Sakamoto J. Brain derived neurotrophic factor release from layer-by-layer coated agarose nerve guidance scaffolds. Acta biomaterialia. 2015 May 1;18:128-31. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2015.02.014