Schutte Tissue Engineering Lab

The Schutte Tissue Engineering Lab’s research focuses on the regulation of the extracellular matrix protein elastin by adult cells. Elastin synthesis is important for tissue engineering of a variety of tissues including arteries and skin as well as in repair of damaged elastin in emphysema or after burns. Our laboratory is interested in how female sex hormones and mechanical strain influence elastin production. 

Our laboratory is actively working to improve elastin content in tissue engineered skin substitutes. We are using these substitutes as model systems for studying skin biology and are working on developing improvements to the scaffold for a new generation of skin substitutes.

Elastin synthesis in adult cells

Most adult (non-neonatal) cells produce insufficient elastin to repair damaged fibers or for tissue engineering applications and what is produced is not properly assembled. One notable exception are the uterine myometerial smooth muscle cells during the third trimester of pregnancy; which coincides with the time at which the majority of fetal elastin is produced. Our lab is investigating the interactions of pregnancy hormones and mechanical forces in order to understand the mechanisms involved and to determine the conditions necessary for other adult cells that produce to produce and assemble functional elastic fibers.

Graph depicting elastin and hormones

Skin tissue engineering

Engineered skin substitutes provide improved wound closure times and reduce the need for autologous donor skin needed to close chronic wounds or full thickness skin losses. These substitutes can be used to model changes that occur in the skin such as after the application of negative pressure wound therapy.

NPWT Masson's Trichrome depiction

Uterine Fibroids

In collaboration with Drs. Thomas and Rios in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, we are studying the effects of mechanical stiffness and stretch on uterine fibroid and myometrial cell viability and proliferation. This data as well as study of mechanosensitive pathways is necessary to achieve our long term goal of finding a nonhormonal treatment for uterine fibroids that will shrink the fibroids without harming the surrounding myometrial tissue.

Rapp, Scott J; Dershem, Victoria; Zhang, Xiang; Schutte, Stacey C; Chariker, Mark E (2019. )Varying Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Acute Effects on Human Split-Thickness Autografts. Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association

Pennycuff, Jon F; Schutte, Stacey C; Hudson, Catherine O; Karp, Deborah R; Malykhina, Anna P; Northington, Gina M (2017) Urinary neurotrophic peptides in postmenopausal women with and without overactive bladder.Neurourology and urodynamics, 36 (3),740-744

Schutte, Stacey C; James, Christopher O; Sidell, Neil; Taylor, Robert N (2015. )Tissue-engineered endometrial model for the study of cell-cell interactions.Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.),22 (3 ),308-15

Schutte, Stacey C; Taylor, Robert N (2012. )A tissue-engineered human endometrial stroma that responds to cues for secretory differentiation, decidualization, and menstruation.Fertility and sterility, ,97 (4), 997-1003

Schutte, Stacey C; Chen, Zhenzhen; Brockbank, Kelvin G M; Nerem, Robert M (2010) Tissue engineering of a collagen-based vascular media: Demonstration of functionality.Organogenesis,6 (4), 204-11

Schutte, Stacey C; Chen, Zhenzhen; Brockbank, Kelvin G M; Nerem, Robert M (2010) Cyclic strain improves strength and function of a collagen-based tissue-engineered vascular media.Tissue engineering. Part A,16 (10), 3149-57

Bedient, CE; Rodriguez, D; Sidell, N; Roberts, C; Schutte, S (2019) Alterations in the invasive properties of peripheral blood monocytes from patients with endometriosisClinical and Experimental Obstetrics and Gynecology, 46 (1), 60-5

Schutte, SC; Nerem RM (2013) Blood Vessel Tissue Engineering Biomaterials Science, 3rd edition .(pp. 1237-46).Elsevier, Inc

Nerem, RM; Schutte, SC (2014) The Challenge of Imitating Nature Principles of Tissue Engineering, 4th edition (pp.9-22). Elsevier, Inc


Headshot of Stacey Colleen Schutte

Stacey Colleen Schutte

Assistant Professor, CEAS - Biomedical Eng



Research areas: Engineering of soft tissue including skin, elastin synthesis, mechanobiology, and effects of proteases on wound healing.
Headshot of Andreja Moset Zupan

Andreja Moset Zupan

Headshot of Justin Klug

Justin Klug

Undergraduate Student, Biomedical Engineering

Headshot of Carolyn Nietupski

Carolyn Nietupski

Graduate Student