Hannah Wilsonhannah

Ph.D. 2016

Previous Education

B.S. Chemical Engineering
University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD


Montgomery Village, MD

Current Research

Eric Shusta Research Group
University of Wisconsin Madison
The blood-brain barrier (BBB), comprised of specialized endothelial cells in the capillaries of the brain, is vital to neurological health and disease. Breakdown of the BBB is implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases, including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury. Therefore, understanding the development and regulation of the BBB is crucial. Yet the molecular mechanisms behind this process are largely unknown, particularly in humans. I am interested in using human pluripotent stem cells to uncover the molecular mechanisms that drive human blood-brain barrier development.

Previous Research

University of Maryland Baltimore County
Mentor: Dr. Julia Ross, Chemical Engineering
The formation of bacterial biofilms in vasculature can cause persistent infection, allowing bacteria to evade both the host immune response and antibiotic treatment. I investigated the interaction between Staphylococcus aureus biofilms and leukocytes, a phagocytic cell that functions in the innate immune system.

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Institute for Nanobiotechnology’s Research Experience for Undergraduates, Summer 2009
Mentor: Dr. Howard Fairbrother, Chemistry

Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Bioinformatics and Bioengineering Summer Institute, Summer 2008
Mentor: Dr. Thomas Boland, Bioengineering


1) Lippmann ES, Azarin SM, Kay JE, Nessler RA, Wilson HK, Palecek SP, Shusta EV. Human blood-brain barrier endothelial cells derived from pluripotent stem cells. Nature Biotechnology. 2012 Aug;30(8):783-91..

2) Wepasnick KA, Smith BA, Schrote KE, Wilson HK, Diegelmann SR, Fairbrother DH (2011). Surface and structural characterization of multi-walled carbon nanotubes following different oxidative treatments. Carbon, 49(1): p. 24-36.