Steven B. Nicoll


Main Affiliation

Biomedical Engineering

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Biomaterials
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Stem Cells
  • Orthopaedics


Steinman Hall





Steven B. Nicoll, Ph.D.

Steven B. Nicoll


Post-Doc, Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY, 2002 

Ph.D., Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco, CA, 2000 

B.S.E., Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1994

Research Interests

Professor Nicoll’s research program incorporates the principles of cell and molecular biology, materials science, and mechanical engineering toward the development of living tissue surrogates for connective tissue restoration.  A prevailing theme in each of the major research thrusts is understanding how environmental stimuli and biomaterial substrates regulate the differentiation of progenitor cells (i.e., human dermal fibroblasts, bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells) toward specialized connective tissue cell lineages, such as chondrocytes and osteoblasts.  Recent efforts have focused on engineering injectable cellulose-based biomaterials for plastic surgery and orthopaedic applications.


DiStefano, T. J., Shmukler, J. O., Danias, G., Di Pauli von Treuheim, T., Hom, W. W., Goldberg, D. A., Laudier, D. M., Nasser, P. R., Hecht, A. C., Nicoll, S. B., and Iatridis, J. C. (2020). Development of a two-part biomaterial adhesive strategy for annulus fibrosus repair and ex vivo evaluation of implant herniation risk. Biomaterials, 258: 120309.


• Hom, W. W., Tschopp, M., Lin, H. A., Nasser, P., Laudier, D. M., Hecht, A. C., Nicoll, S. B. and Iatridis, J. C. (2019). Composite biomaterial repair strategy to restore biomechanical function and reduce herniation risk in a large animal model of intervertebral disc herniation with varying injury severity. PLOS ONE, 4:e0217357.


• Lin, H. A., Varma, D. M., Hom, W. W., Cruz, M. A., Nasser, P. R., Phelps, R. G., Iatridis, J. C. and Nicoll, S. B. (2019).  Injectable cellulose-based hydrogels as nucleus pulposus replacements: Assessment of in vitro structural stability, ex vivo herniation risk, and in vivo biocompatibility.  J. Mech. Behav. Biomed. Mater., 96: 204-2013.


• Varma, D. M., DiNicolas, M. S. and Nicoll, S. B. (2018).  Injectable, redox-polymerized carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels promote nucleus pulposus-like extracellular matrix elaboration by human MSCs in a cell density-dependent manner.  J. Biomater. Appl., 33: 576-589.


• Varma, D. M., Lin, H. A., Long, R. G., Gold, G. T., Hecht, A. C., Iatridis, J. C. and Nicoll S. B. (2018). Thermoresponsive, redox-polymerized cellulosic hydrogels undergo in situ gelation and restore intervertebral disc biomechanics post discectomy.  Eur. Cell. Mater., 35: 300-317.


• Li, C., Sunderic, K., Nicoll, S. B. and Wang, S. (2018). Downregulation of heat shock protein 70 impairs osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation in human mesenchymal stem cells. Sci. Rep., 8: 553.


• Lin, H. A., Gupta, M. S., Varma, D. M., Gilchrist, M. L. and Nicoll, S. B. (2016). Lower crosslinking density enhances functional nucleus pulposus-like matrix elaboration by human mesenchymal stem cells in carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels.  J. Biomed. Mater. Res. A., 104: 165-77.


• Gold, G. T., Varma, D. M., Taub, P. J., and Nicoll, S. B. (2015). Development of crosslinked methylcellulose hydrogels for soft tissue augmentation using an ammonium persulfate-ascorbic acid redox system. Carbohydr. Polym., 134: 497-507.


• Gupta, M. S. and Nicoll, S. B. (2015). Duration of TGF-β3 exposure impacts the chondrogenic maturation of human MSCs in photocrosslinked carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels. Ann. Biomed. Eng., 43: 1145-1157.


• Varma, D. M., Gold, G. T., Taub, P. J. and Nicoll, S. B. (2014). Injectable carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels for soft tissue filler applications.  Acta Biomater., 10: 4996-5004.


• Gupta, M. S. and Nicoll, S. B. (2014).  Functional nucleus pulposus-like matrix assembly by human mesenchymal stromal cells is directed by macromer concentration in photocrosslinked carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels.  Cell Tissue Res., 358: 527-539.


• Singh, T., Kothapalli, C., Varma, D., Nicoll, S. B. and Vazquez, M. (2014). Carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels support central nervous system-derived tumor-cell chemotactic migration: comparison with conventional extracellular matrix macromolecules. J. Biomater. Appl., 29: 433-441.


• Guterl, C. C., Torre, O. M., Purmessur, D., Dave, K., Likhitpanichkul, M., Hecht, A. C., Nicoll, S. B. and Iatridis, J. C. (2014). Characterization of mechanics and cytocompatibility of fibrin-genipin annulus fibrosus sealant with the addition of cell adhesion molecules. Tissue Eng., Part A, 20: 2536-2545.


• Gold, G. T., Varma, D. M., Harbottle, D., Gupta, M. S., Stalling, S. S., Taub, P. J. and Nicoll, S. B. (2014). Injectable redox-polymerized methylcellulose hydrogels as potential soft tissue filler materials.  J. Biomed. Mater. Res., 102: 4536-4544.


• Iatridis, J., Nicoll, S. B., Michalek, A. J., Walter, B. A. and Gupta, M. S.  (2013). Role of biomechanics in intervertebral disc degeneration and regenerative therapies: What needs repairing in the IVD and what are promising biomaterials for its repair?  Spine J., 13: 243-262.


• Gupta, M. S., Cooper, E. S. and Nicoll, S. B. (2011).  TGF-β3 stimulates cartilage matrix elaboration by human marrow-derived stromal cells encapsulated in photocrosslinked carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels: Potential for nucleus pulposus replacement.  Tissue Eng., Part A, 17: 2903-2010.


• Hee, C. K. and Nicoll, S. B. (2011).  Differential surface antigen expression and 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 responsiveness distinguish human dermal fibroblasts with age-dependent osteogenic differentiation potential from marrow-derived stromal cells in vitro. Cytotherapy, 13: 528-538.


Nicoll, S. B., "Materials for bone graft substitutes and osseous tissue regeneration" in Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering, J.A. Burdick and R.L. Mauck (eds.), Springer, 2011.


Nicoll, S. B., Hee, C. K., Davis, M. B. and Winkelstein, B. A. (2010).  A rat model of temporomandibular joint pain with histopathologic modifications.  J. Orofacial Pain, 24: 298-304.


• Reza, A. T. and Nicoll, S. B. (2010). Serum-free, chemically defined medium with TGF-ß3 enhances functional properties of nucleus pulposus cell-laden carboxymethylcellulose hydrogel constructs. Biotechnol. Bioeng., 105: 384-395.


• Reza, A. T. and Nicoll, S. B. (2010). Characterization of novel photocrosslinked carboxymethylcellulose hydrogels for encapsulation of nucleus pulposus cells. Acta Biomater., 6: 179-186.


• Brink, H. E., Bernstein, J. and Nicoll, S. B. (2009). Fetal dermal fibroblasts exhibit enhanced growth and collagen production in two- and three-dimensional culture in comparison to adult fibroblasts. J. Tissue Eng. Regen. Med., 3: 623-633.


• Yu, V., Damek-Poprawa, M., Nicoll, S. B. and Akintoye, S. O. (2009). Dynamic hydrostatic pressure promotes differentiation of human dental pulp stem cells. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 386: 661-665.


• Hee, C. K. and Nicoll, S. B. (2009). Endogenous bone morphogenetic proteins mediate 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced expression of osteoblast differentiation markers in human dermal fibroblasts. J. Orthop. Res., 27: 162-168.


• Chou, A. I., Akintoye, S. O. and Nicoll, S. B. (2009). Photocrosslinked alginate hydrogels support enhanced matrix accumulation by nucleus pulposus cells in vivo. Osteoarthritis Cartilage, 17: 1377-1384.


• Chou, A. I. and Nicoll, S. B. (2009). Characterization of photocrosslinked alginate hydrogels for nucleus pulposus cell encapsulation. J. Biomed. Mater. Res.: Part A, 91A: 187-194.


• Stalling, S. S., Akintoye, S. O. and Nicoll, S. B. (2009). Development of photocrosslinked methylcellulose hydrogels for soft tissue reconstruction. Acta Biomater., 5: 1911-1918.


• Chou, A. I., Reza, A. T. and Nicoll, S. B. (2008). Distinct intervertebral disc cell populations adopt similar phenotypes in three-dimensional culture. Tissue Eng., Part A, 14: 2079-2087.


• Park, S., Nicoll, S. B., Mauck, R. L. and Ateshian, G. A. (2008). Cartilage mechanical response under dynamic compression at physiological stress levels following enzymatic digestion. Ann. Biomed. Eng., 36: 425-434.


• Stalling, S. S. and Nicoll, S. B. (2008). Fetal ACL fibroblasts exhibit enhanced cellular properties compared with adults. Clin. Orthop. Rel. Res., 466: 3130-3137.


• Reza, A. T. and Nicoll, S. B. (2008). Hydrostatic pressure differentially regulates outer and inner annulus fibrosus cell matrix production in 3D scaffolds. Ann. Biomed. Eng., 36: 204-213.


• Chao, P. G., Nicoll, S. B., Bulinski, J. C., Lu, H. H. and Hung, C. T. (2007). Effects of applied DC electric field on ligament fibroblast migration and wound healing. Conn. Tissue Res., 48: 188-197.


• Yerramalli, C. S., Chou, A. I., Miller, G. J., Nicoll, S. B., Chin, K. R. and Elliott, D. M. (2007). The effect of nucleus pulposis crosslinking and glycosaminoglycan degradation on disc mechanical function. Biomech. Model. Mechanobiol., 6: 13-20.


• Chou, A. I., Bansal, A. D., Miller, G. J. and Nicoll, S. B. (2006). The effect of serial monolayer passaging on the collagen expression profile of outer and inner annulus fibrosus cells. Spine, 31: 1875-1881.


• Hee, C. K. and Nicoll, S. B. (2006). Induction of osteoblast differentiation markers in human dermal fibroblasts: Potential application to bone tissue engineering. Proc. IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Soc., 1: 521-524.


• Brink, H. E., Miller, G. J., Beredjiklian, P. K. and Nicoll, S. B. (2006). Serum-dependent effects on fetal and adult tendon fibroblast migration and collagen expression. Wound Repair Regen., 14: 179-186.


• Hee, C. K., Jonikas, M. A. and Nicoll, S. B. (2006). Influence of three-dimensional scaffold on the expression of osteogenic differentiation markers by human dermal fibroblasts. Biomaterials, 27: 875-884.


• Wheaton, A. J., Dodge, G. R., Elliott, D. M., Nicoll, S. B. and Reddy, R. (2005). Quantification of cartilage biomechanical and biochemical properties via T1ρ MRI. Magn. Reson. Med., 54: 1087-1093.


• Jiang, J., Nicoll, S. B. and Lu, H. H. (2005). Co-culture of osteoblasts and chondrocytes modulates cellular differentiation in vitro. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 338: 762-770.


• Brink, H. E., Stalling, S. S. and Nicoll, S. B. (2005). Influence of serum on adult and fetal dermal fibroblast migration, adhesion, and collagen expression. In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol., 41: 252-257.