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The podcast feeding the movement to cure paralysis

'Dancing Molecules' Rebroadcast (Episode 76)

Guest: Samuel I. Stupp

Today's conversation is a rebroadcast of our interview with Samuel Stupp back in 2022. We thought it was a good time to revisit this conversation, given Dr. Stupp’s most recent publication, which you can learn more about below in the summary review done by U2FP’s science writer, Sam Maddox. 

During the course of this conversation, we dig into Dr. Stupp’s unique approach as an interdisciplinary scientist by discussing potential collaborators and a possible direction for where some of his research might lead. We also discuss Dr. Stupp’s discoveries, his commitment to researching and delivering a therapeutic for SCI and this area of study typically outside of the SCI world.

As always, please share your thoughts with us via email at Thanks for listening! 

Listen on: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Soundcloud

Bumper music: Dig a Hole by Freaque

Guest Bio

Samuel Stupp is Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. He also directs Northwestern’s Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology and the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science, an Energy Frontiers Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Stupp’s interdisciplinary research is focused on developing self-assembling supramolecular nanostructures and materials for functions relevant to renewable energy, regenerative medicine, and robotic soft matter. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Spanish Academy, and the National Academy of Inventors. His awards include the Department of Energy Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Materials Chemistry, the Materials Research Society Medal Award, the International Award from The Society of Polymer Science in Japan, the Royal Society Award in Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry, and three national awards from the American Chemical Society: the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry, the Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry, and the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry.


Related Resources

  • Samuel Stupp and the Possibilities of an Bio-Nano Approach to SCI Therapies. U2FP's Sam Maddox breaks down the implications of Dr. Stupp's research, focusing especially on a recent paper he co-authored. From the article: "I’ll provide some context for the nanotech scaffolds work, and also describe a brand-new paper from Stupp’s lab combining his dancing molecules with a type of stem cell made by genetically reverse-programming a human skin cell to become a neuron. That is what’s called an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)."
  • Bioactive Scaffolds with Enhanced Supramolecular Motion Promote Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury, was published November 11, 2021 in the journal Science. It received widespread media attention and prompted our interview with Stupp last year. From the abstract: "The signaling of cells by scaffolds of synthetic molecules that mimic proteins is known to be effective in the regeneration of tissues. Here, we describe peptide amphiphile supramolecular polymers containing two distinct signals and test them in a mouse model of severe spinal cord injury."
  • Artificial Extracellular Matrix Scaffolds of Mobile Molecules Enhance Maturation of Human Stem Cell Derived Neurons was published January 12, 2023 in the journal Cell Stem Cell. From the abstract: "Our work highlights the importance of designing biomimetic ECMs to study the development, function, and dysfunction of human neurons."



  • This podcast is made possible by a grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s National Paralysis Resource Center. The information provided and opinions expressed in these podcasts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. For more information about the Foundation’s National Paralysis Resource Center visit