Welcome to the UC Davis Center for Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory. Located on the Sacramento campus of UC Davis, we serve as a hub for faculty, residents, research fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate and post-baccalaureate junior scientists conducting interdisciplinary, groundbreaking research to engineer solutions for the full spectrum of surgical disease. Our research teams bring together diverse experience from across the health sciences, and draws upon the most up-to-date technologies (like stem cell engineering) to tackle some of largest challenges in medicine, including spinal cord injury, heart disease and birth defects. The UC Davis Department of Surgery provides a rich environment for biomedical research, which, coupled with our multipronged collaborations across multiple campuses, strengthens our access to the most sophisticated equipment and the best minds.

Select publications

High density placental mesenchymal stromal cells provide neuronal preservation and improve motor function following in utero treatment of ovine myelomeningocele. Melissa Vanover, Christopher Pivetti, Lee Lankford, Priyadarsini Kumar, Laura Galganski, Sandra Kabagambe, Benjamin Keller, James Becker, Y. Julia Chen, Karen Chung, Chelsey Lee, Zachary Paxton, Bailey Deal, Laura Goodman, Jamie Anderson, Guy Jensen, Aijun Wang, Diana Farmer. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.10.032 Epub 2018 Oct 25.

The Management of Myelomeningocele study: full cohort 30-month pediatric outcomes. Farmer DL, Thom EA, Brock JW 3rd, Burrows PK, Johnson MP, Howell LJ, Farrell JA, Gupta N, Adzick NS; Management of Myelomeningocele Study Investigators. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Feb;218(2):256.e1-256.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.12.001. Epub 2017 Dec 12.
Lessons from the Barn to the Operating Suite: A Comprehensive Review of Animal Models for Fetal Surgery. Kabagambe SK, Lee CJ, Goodman LF, Chen YJ, Vanover MA, Farmer DL. Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2018 Feb 15;6:99-119. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-030117-014637. Epub 2017 Dec 13.
Isolation of myogenic progenitor cell population from human placenta: A pilot study. Kabagambe SK, Lankford L, Kumar P, Chen YJ, Herout KT, Lee CJ, Stark RA, Farmer DL, Wang A. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Dec;52(12):2078-2082. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2017.08.025. Epub 2017 Sep 4.

Potential clinical applications of placental stem cells for use in fetal therapy of birth defects. Vanover M, Wang A, Farmer D. Placenta. 2017 Nov;59:107-112. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2017.05.010. Epub 2017 May 18

Fetal surgical repair with placenta-derived mesenchymal stromal cell engineered patch in a rodent model of myelomeningocele. Chen YJ, Chung K, Pivetti C, Lankford L, Kabagambe SK, Vanover M, Becker J, Lee C, Tsang J, Wang A, Farmer DL. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Oct 12. pii: S0022-3468(17)30662-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2017.10.040. [Epub ahead of print]

Fetal Surgery for Myelomeningocele: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of OUtcomes in Fetoscopic versus Open Repair. Kabagambe SK, Jensen GW, Chen YJ, Vanover MA, Farmer DL. Fetal Diagn Ther. 2018;43(3):161-174. doi: 10.1159/000479505. Epub 2017 Sep 15. Review.

New directions in fetal surgery for myelomeningocele. Kabagambe SK, Chen YJ, Vanover MA, Saadai P, Farmer DL. Childs Nerv Syst. 2017 Jul;33(7):1185-1190. doi: 10.1007/s00381-017-3438-6. Epub 2017 May 11. Review.

Discovery and Characterization of a Potent and Specific Peptide Ligand Targeting Endothelial Progenitor Cells and Endothelial Cells for Tissue Regeneration. Hao D, Xiao W, Liu R, Kumar P, Li Y, Zhou P, Guo F, Farmer DL, Lam KS, Wang F, Wang A. ACS Chem Biol. 2017 Apr 21;12(4):1075-1086. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00118. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

Fetal surgery for myelomeningocele: current clinical practice and translational research. Kabagambe SK, Chen YJ, Farmer DL. Minerva Pediatr. 2017 Feb;69(1):59-65. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4946.16.04811-8. Epub 2016 Nov 10. Review.

Age does matter: A pilot comparison of placenta-derived stromal cells for in utero repair of myelomeningocele using a lamb model. Brown EG, Keller BA, Lankford L, Pivetti CD, Hirose S, Farmer DL, Wang A. Fetal Diagn Ther. 2016;39(3):179-85. doi: 10.1159/000433427. Epub 2015 Jul 7.

Placental mesenchymal stromal cells rescue ambulation in ovine myelomeningocele. Wang A, Brown EG, Lankford L, Keller BA, Pivetti CD, Sitkin NA, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC, Farmer DL. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2015 Jun;4(6):659-69. doi: 10.5966/sctm.2014-0296. Epub 2015 Apr 24.

Development of a locomotor rating scale for testing motor function in sheep. Brown EG, Keller BA, Pivetti CD, Sitkin NA, Wang A, Farmer DL, Bresnahan JC. J Pediatr Surg. 2015 Apr;50(4):617-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2015.01.002. Epub 2015 Jan 24.

Innate healing in the fetal sheep model of myelomeningocele: A standardized defect grading system. Brown EG, Keller BA, Pivetti CD, Farmer DL. J Pediatr Surg. 2015 Jul;50(7):1134-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2014.10.021. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Fetal surgery for myelomeningocele: history, research, clinical trials, and future directions. Keller BA, Farmer DL. Minerva Pediatr. 2015 Aug;67(4):341-56. Epub 2015 Feb 20. Review.

Engineering mesenchymal stem cells to improve their exosome efficacy and yield for cell-free therapy. Phan J, Kumar P, Hao D, Gao K, Farmer D, Wang A. J Extracell Vesicles. 2018 Sep 26;7(1):1522236. doi: 10.1080/20013078.2018.1522236. eCollection 2018. Review.

In Utero Transplantation of Placenta-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for Potential Fetal Treatment of Hemophilia A. Kumar P, Gao K, Wang C, Pivetti C, Lankford L, Farmer D, Wang A. Cell Transplant. 2018 Jan;27(1):130-139. doi: 10.1177/0963689717728937.

Isolation and characterization of canine placenta-derived mesenchymal stromal cells for the treatment of neurological disorders in dogs. Long C, Lankford L, Kumar P, Grahn R, Borjesson DL, Farmer D, Wang A. Cytometry A. 2018 Jan;93(1):82-92. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.23171. Epub 2017 Jul 17

Manufacture and preparation of human placenta-derived mesenchymal stromal cells for local tissue delivery. Lankford L, Chen YJ, Saenz Z, Kumar P, Long C, Farmer D, Wang A. Cytotherapy. 2017 Jun;19(6):680-688. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2017.03.003. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Christina Theodorou, Sarah Stokes, Jordan Jackson, Christopher Pivetti, Priyadarsini Kumar, Kaeli Yamashiro, Zachary J Paxton, Lizette Reynaga, Alicia A Hyllen, Aijun Wang, Diana Farmer. Efficacy of clinical-grade human placental mesenchymal stromal cells in fetal ovine myelomeningocele repair. J Pediatr Surg. 2021 Jun 5; S0022-3468(21)00435-8. PMID: 34217509. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.05.025


Kaeli Yamashiro, Laura Galganski, Jamie Peyton, Kalie Haynes, Victoria Vicuna, Priyadarsini Kumar, Benjamin Keller, James Becker, Christopher Pivetti, Sarah Stokes, Christina Theodorou, Jordan Jackson, Aijun Wang, Diana Farmer. Surviving Lambs with Myelomeningocele Repaired in utero with Placental Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for 6 Months: A Pilot Study. Fetal Diagn Ther. 2020;47(12):912-917. PMID: 33166951. PMCID: PMC7746588. DOI: 10.1159/000510813

Lalithasri Ramasubramanian, Priyadarsini Kumar, Aijun Wang. Engineering Extracellular Vesicles as Nanotherapeutics for Regenerative Medicine. Biomolecules. 2019 Dec 28;10(1). PMID: 31905611. DOI: 10.3390/biom10010048.