NSF Graduate Research Fellow
NSF IGERT Stem Cell Biomanufacturing Trainee
Project Title:
“Neuronal differentiation of pluripotent stem cell aggregates”


Jessica graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 with a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. Working in the lab of Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD, Jessica focused on the differentiation of V2a interneurons from mouse embryonic stem cells for therapeutic spinal cord applications. She also worked on creating transgenic cell lines to better visualize neural networks. While at Washington, she was an active author in the preparation of several manuscripts aimed at furthering the stem cell literature and also collaborated to develop software for a student-designed low cost spirometer and receiver first place in a design competition. In August of 2013, she became a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and joined the lab of Todd McDevitt, PhD with plans to continue neural stem cell research. 


UCSF / UC Berkeley Bioengineering Graduate Program

Research Interests

The developing neural tube is composed of defined domains of neural cell types that have unique roles in motor function. With a combination of directed stem cell differentiation and utilization of natural developmental processes, an in vitro model of the neural tube will be designed to further investigate early developmental processes as well as roles of neural cell types in motor function.Ideally, this model will serve as a platform to study various neural tube developmental defects such as spina bifida. 


NSF Graduate Research Fellow 2014

Recent Publications:

Butts JC, McCreedy DA, Martinez-Vargas JAlexis, Mendoza-Camacho FN, Hookway TA, Gifford CA, et al. Differentiation of V2a interneurons from human pluripotent stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2017;.
Hookway TA, Butts JC, Lee E, Tang H, McDevitt TC. Aggregate formation and suspension culture of human pluripotent stem cells and differentiated progeny. Methods. 2016;.
Chi T, Park JSeok, Butts JC, Hookway TA, Su A, Zhu C, et al. A multi-modality CMOS sensor array for cell-based assay and drug screening. IEEE Transaction on Biomedical Circuits and Systems. 2015;.