Intra-CREATE: Engineering and Health. Engineering Scaffold-Mediated Neural Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

CNRS@CREATE is pleased to announce, as host institution, the selection of the project ScaNCellS “Engineering Scaffold-Mediated Neural Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment “as part of the INTRA-CREATE call for projects on “INTERSECTION OF ENGINEERING AND HEALTH”.

PIs and partners

Project team members

  • Lead PI (1) – Assoc. Prof. Sing Yian CHEW (Nanyang Technological University);
  • Lead PI (2) – Pr Laurent DAVID (CNRS);

The partners are NTU, CNRS, NUS, MIT, University of Cambridge through A*Star and SMART CAMP. The duration of the project is 3 years, and it started during in october 2020.

Lead PI (1) – Assoc. Prof. Sing Yian CHEW (Nanyang Technological University)

Lead PI (2) – Pr Laurent DAVID (CNRS);


Lab members (further details can be found on Chew Lab website):


Paula Nunes de OLIVEIRA


Daniel N. ROXBY

Jia Hui CHEN



PhD students:

Wei JU


Jerome TAN

Chongquan HUANG


Spinal cord injuries (SCI) carry significant costs to the society and has a major impact on the quality of life of patients. According to the WHO, SCI is estimated to cost more than dementia, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment that regenerates spinal cord tissue with functional recovery.

Our program gathers a unique team of engineers, cell biologists and clinician scientists with the aim to design a neural cell implantation therapy for SCI treatment that is safe, efficacious and reproducible. We will achieve this goal through enhanced biological understanding of the regeneration process of nerve tissue together with optimized engineering methods to prepare cells and biomaterials for robust cell manufacturing and successful transplantation into the body. We envision that through this proof-of-principle work in the context of SCI, we may further translate our scientific and engineering capabilities in neural cell therapies and biomaterial design to treat other neurological disorders.

*Team members from CNRS: Laurent DAVID (Co-PI, IMP Lyon); Gilles SUBRA (IBMM Montpellier)

Engineering Scaffold-Mediated Neural Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

Engineering Scaffold-Mediated Neural Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment


Cell transplantation to treat irreparable spinal cord injury: how scientists are working to regenerate nerve tissue, prepare cells and biomaterials for treatment.
LISTEN: Associate Professor at NTU Chew Sing Yian, Principal Investigator at Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine(CAMP), SMART – Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore, and CNRS@CREATE ScaNCells Project.

PhD Scholarship in Scaffold Design for Neural Tissue Engineering

 A PhD scholarship is available in the laboratory of Dr. Sing Yian CHEW at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, to a highly motivated candidate who has a passion for tissue engineeringscaffold design and drug/gene/cell delivery research. This scholarship is applicable for Jan 2023 PhD intake and covers 4 years candidature.

Read more about this position here.

6 accepted abstracts that will be presented at TERMIS-AP 2022:


1) Jerome Tan (Ph.D. student), Podium presentation, Title: “Label-free Assessment of Differentiation Efficiency in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell derived Spinal Cord Progenitor Cells via Magnetic Resonance Relaxometry (MRR)”


2) Christy Kwokdinata (Ph.D. student), Podium presentation, Title: ‘Spinal cord progenitor cells encapsulated in hydrogel for spinal cord injury treatment’


3) Tan Dai NGUYEN (Research Fellow), Podium presentation, title: ‘Label-free detection of residual undifferentiated iPSCs from their differentiated progenitor cells by microfluidic Raman spectroscopy’


4) Tan Dai NGUYEN (Research Fellow), Poster presentation, Title: ‘Label-free and high-throughput removal of residual undifferentiated iPSCs from their differentiated progenitor cells by inertial microfluidic cell sorter’


5) Daniel Roxby (Research Fellow), Poster presentation, Title: ‘Magnetic Resonance Relaxometry as a Tool for Tracking Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Variability’


6) Paula Nunes de OLIVEIRA (Research Fellow), Podium presentation, title: ‘Functionalization, preparation and use of stem cell-laden bio–based photo-clickable hydrogels for spinal cord injury treatment’

This research is supported by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme.

CREATE is an international collaboratory housing research centres set up by top universities. At CREATE, researchers from diverse disciplines and backgrounds work closely together to perform cutting-edge research in strategic areas of interest, for translation into practical applications leading to positive economic and societal outcomes for Singapore. The interdisciplinary research centres at CREATE focus on four areas of interdisciplinary thematic areas of research, namely human systems, energy systems, environmental systems and urban systems. More information on the CREATE programme can be obtained from

Visit the CNRS website here.