Bryan J. Pfister, PhD, is an associate professor and interim chair of the department of biomedical engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology who is a specialist in neural tissue engineering. Pfister’s research encompasses how mechanical forces affect the nervous system – spanning from stretch induced growth during development to axonal stretch injury in traumatic brain injuries.
In collaboration with a team of physicians at the University of Pennsylvania, Pfister has recreated in the laboratory a natural form of axon growth that occurs through stretching as an individual grows from embryo through early adulthood. By studying the tissue grown through the stretching technique, he hopes to find clues to repairing traumatic injuries to the spinal cord and other nerve tissue. Pfister also hopes to develop a nerve-tissue interface that would allow for a thought-controlled prosthesis that would behave like a natural limb.
In 2008 Pfister received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation. He has recently been awarded a $1.6M multi-investigator grant from the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research with collaboration at the New Jersey Medical School and the VA Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey.
Pfister has maintained a diverse research group including women and minorities. He supports the NJIT Ronald McNair Program and has been awarded NSF Graduate Research Supplements for minority students. His work has produced 20 manuscripts in leading Pubmed indexed journals including three invited manuscripts and two invited reviews. Beyond research, his commitment to teaching earned him the 2009 Educator of the Year Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies of NJ.
Pfister received his PhD in materials science engineering and his MS degree in mechanical engineering, both from Johns Hopkins University, and his BS degree in interdisciplinary engineering and management from Clarkson University.
Last update: January 3, 2012
Topics: neural tissue engineering, axonal stretch injury in traumatic brain injuries