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Research Labs:
Hofstetter Lab

Investigators / Researchers

  • Christoph Hofstetter, MD, PhD

    Christoph Hofstetter

    Dr. Hofstetter received his M.D. from the University of Vienna, Austria, and earned his Ph.D. at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, focusing on experimental treatment strategies for traumatic spinal cord injuries. He then completed a surgical internship and neurosurgery residency at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Hofstetter completed clinical fellowship training at the Mayo Clinic and a spine fellowship focusing on complex minimally invasive spine surgery at the University of Miami.

    Dr. Hofstetter is a faculty member in the UW Institute for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine. His research lab investigates various experimental treatment strategies to enhance nerve fiber plasticity and regeneration following spinal cord injury, including electrical stimulation to enhance signaling of remaining nerve fibers, replacement of lost neural cells via stem cell-based transplantation and the promotion and guidance of nerve fiber regeneration utilizing scaffolds.

    Dr. Hofstetter’s clinical research focuses on the development of novel minimally invasive motion preserving spinal procedures. In particular he is investigating the use of endoscopic techniques for the treatment of disc herniations and foraminal stenosis. His research efforts strive to improve surgical tools, as wells as, to study clinical outcomes following these procedures. Dr. Hofstetter has extensive research experience in both clinical and basic science research and was awarded a prestigious NREF grant for his research efforts. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications and numerous text book chapters and serves as a reviewer for several journals in neurosurgery and neuroscience.

  • Zin Khaing, PhD

    Zin Khaing

    Education, Training

    • Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, TX. 2006 – 2013.
    • PhD, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY. 2005 (Thesis Advisors: Drs. Mariann Blum and James Roberts)
    • BS, Biology, The Catholic University of America, Washington DC. 1996


    Biomaterials, Neuroimmunology and Stem Cells for Repair Strategies in the Central Nervous System

    My research interests are in the area of plasticity and regeneration within the central nervous system. We are also employing engineering approaches to develop materials to aid in the process of axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury. Particularly, we are uncovering the importance of extracellular matrix molecules, and of neuroimmune cells in repair and regeneration processes after injury to the central nervous system. We are also interested the effects of these two important factors (neuroimmune cells and extracellular matrix) on the differentiation of both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells.

    The two current major areas of research are to

    (1) Develop injectable and bio-responsive 3D culture systems as scaffolds for axonal growth, and differentiation of stem cells in a controlled manner

    (2) Uncover acute physiological and pathological changes within the injured spinal cord using novel imaging techniques.

  • Zeinab Birjandian M.D., MSc.

    Zeinab Birjandian

    Zeinab received her M.D. from Shahid Beheshti Medical University, Tehran, Iran, in 2007. She then started her master's project at the Robarts Research Institute, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada, where she worked on voltage sensitive-dye recording of brain activity both in the controlled and epileptic rat model.She joined the Hofstetter lab in the January 2016 and has been working on immunohistochemistry, histology and data analysis. Zeinab is passionate about using clinical knowledge to design new experiments and find new therapeutic strategies for patients with spinal cord injury.

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  • Lindsay Cates

    Lindsay Cates

    Lindsay received her Bachelors of Science in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2007. During and after college she spent time tutoring college-level biology and English courses. She came to the Hofstetter lab from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. There she worked for a behavioral testing and surgical core facility. In the Hofstetter lab she puts her experience in rodent behavior and microsurgery to work, but also keeps the lab running smoothly as the lab manager.

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  • Dane Dewees

    Dane Dewees

    Dane Dewees graduated with a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from Western Washington University in the summer of 2015. During his time at WWU, he was part of Dr. Janet Finlay’s lab which focused on the neurobiology of schizophrenia and other affective disorders. He came to the Hofstetter lab in the fall of 2015 and has been working on behavioral testing, histology, and analysis associated with the rodent model the Hofstetter lab has generated. Dane is helping the lab target novel techniques with the potential of being translational to clinical use.
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Published Research Articles

View complete lists of current research publications by faculty from the Department of Neurological Surgery.

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Featured Faculty:

Samuel Browd, MD, PhD

Dr. Browd specializes in pediatric neurosurgery, specifically with children who have hydrocephalus, brain & spinal cord tumors, pediatric cervical spine, spina bifida, chiari malformations, and spacticity.

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