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Biomaterials

Overview

Azam Ali thumbAssociate Professor Azam Ali.

Research into biomaterials involves the precise engineering of novel materials including molecularly engineered biomaterials (i.e. engineered therapeutics), fabrication of biomaterials into medical devices and technology for biomedical applications (human and animal). In addition to having specific physical, mechanical and biological properties, biomaterials must be biocompatible with healing and tissue regeneration abilities. Research therefore encompasses elements of medicine, materials science and tissue engineering.

Innovative materials can drive the creation of new products (e.g. medical devices and technology) in many life-science sectors. This makes it a crucial pillar for engineered therapeutics. Thus the biomaterials and bioengineering team have sound expertise and experiences in multifaceted applied and pure research and commercial sector partnership. Located within the Centre for Bioengineering and Nanomedicine (Dunedin hub), Department of Food Science, University of Otago, this research focuses on materials/biomaterials (including dental biomaterials) and their relationships with humans.

Contact

Associate Professor Azam Ali
Tel +64 3 479 7956
Mob +64 21 139 7912
Email azam.ali@otago.ac.nz

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Current Research Topics

Skin and Dermal Tissue Regeneration

The main goal of tissue engineering is to create a biocompatible and mechanically suitable architecture that allows cell migration, proliferation and angiogenesis for new tissue formation.
Electrospinning and emerging 3D Melt Electrowriting technology allows the fabrication of porous scaffolds that are in the nanoscale and mimic the natural extracellular matrix of dermal tissue (3D construct skin substitute). The successful creation of a skin tissue scaffold involves the careful selection of polymers in ideal combinations to obtain desired properties. The functionality of the scaffold can then be enhanced by incorporating bio-active cells that provide the correct stimulus for healthy neo-tissue formation.

Bone substitutes and bone ceramics

The aim of the bone graft and bone substitute research activities are to develop a biocompatible, biodegradable bone-graft substitute from reconstituted keratin and bioceramics including newly developed nano-structure hydroxyapatite (nHA) from mussel shells. This material will overcome the disadvantages associated with currently used bone substitutes constructed from typical polymers (e.g. polylactic acid-polyglycolic acid), bioceramics (tri-calcium phosphate, TCP), hydroxyapatite (HA), etc.

Dental Biomaterials and Bone Grafts

Dental pathologies such as caries is one of the most prevalent diseases worldwide. Current therapies are merely cosmetic following removal of the disease and are not designed to produce cellular regeneration. Dental pulp contains stem cells capable of regenerating the dentine in the tooth; consequently, healthy dental pulp is essential for long term tooth survival. The aim of developing novel dental biomaterials and bone graft namely ‘No fill No drill” program is to incorporate reconstituted new keratin IFP (rKP) for excellent tissue healing and strength, reconstituted structural collagen (SCP) to provide cell support, and chitosan as an antibacterial substance into a triphasic hybrid biomaterial (3HB) consisting of dental fillers (e.g. DP or MTA). This newly derived 3HB together provide regenerative properties for the pulp-dentin tissues.

Intervertebral Disc (IVD) Replacement

The main goal of the intervertebral disc (IVD) tissue engineering is to create a biocompatible and biodegradable functional construct that resolves issues associated with current IVD degeneration treatment. Through this project, we aim to develop a tissue-engineered IVD scaffold that structurally and functionally mimics the native IVD with enhanced cell proliferation and extracellular matrix formation.

Heart Valve Leaflet

Valvular heart disease (VHD) is a serious health burden affecting morbidity and mortality worldwide. The prevalence of VHD is expected to grow along with the global rise in population. VHD is characterized by the stiffening of the valve leaflets, resulting in stenosis, or regurgitation, and the backflow of the blood. Despite the advances in treatments for VHDs, current treatments are limited by the lack of durability and growth capability of prosthetic valves. Therefore, an alternative approach addressing these issues is required. Tissue engineering is gaining momentum due to its ability to design and fabricate tissue substitutes in vitro for replacement. For heart valve leaflet tissue engineering, either biopolymeric or/and synthetic polymeric biomaterials can be processed via various fabrication techniques such as electrospinning.

Medical gels

A chitosan/dextran(CD)-based, post-surgical gel, Chitogel, has proved itself to be a real winner; and stops bleeding, infection, and dramatically reduces adhesions following ear, nose, and throat surgeries. The two pot mixture sets within a minute to form a firm gel that is slowly degraded in the body. This biocompatible CD gel has been further optimized as an adult stem cell delivery vehicle and bioink for regenerative, wound healing applications.

Drug-Eluting Medical Sutures

The aim of the drug-eluting suture research is to develop a system that incorporates suture materials with active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to achieve target drug release, which can effectively reduce surgical site infection.
Melt extrusion technique allows APIs to be homogeneously dispersed into the cross-section of the sutures. Not only can it potentially enhance solubility of poor water-soluble drug, but also the prolonged drug release can be achieved.

Other Research Projects activities

  • 3D bioprinted regenerative, vascularized constructs for wound healing applications (A/Prof Azam Ali, Dr. Jaydee, A/Prof. Michelle McConnel, ….)
  • Antimicrobial polymers for dental and medical implants (A/Prof. Azam Ali, Dr. Maree Gould, Prof Karl Lyons)
  • Biocomposite scaffolds for bone-tissue engineering (A/Prof. Azam Ali, Dr. Amin Shavandi, Prof. George Dias, Dr. Maree Gould, Dr. Jaydee Cabral)
  • Biomaterials for treatment of intervertebral discs and spinal bone-tissue regeneration (A/Prof Azam Ali, Dr. Jaydee Cabral, A/Prof. Michelle McConnel)
  • New Biomaterials from Dairy, Animal and Plant co-products (A/Prof Azam Ali, A/prof Alan Carne, Dr. Kate Ryder, A/Prof Michelle McConnell)
  • Biometric scaffolds (A/Prof. Azam Ali and Dr. Maree Gould)
  • Dental biomaterials and implants (A/Prof Azam Ali, Prof Mauro Farella, Prof. Karl Lyons, Dr, Peter Lee, Dr. Joe Anthon)
  • Drug delivery devices for treating bone infection and inflammation (A/Prof Azam Ali, A/Prof. Michelle McConnell)
  • Drug delivery devices for dermal and typical wound care medical devices (A/Prof Azam Ali, Dr. Maree Gould)
  • Biopolymeric biomaterials, bioformulations for the treatment of sheep footrot (A/Prof Azam Ali, A/Prof. Aladdin Bekhit, A/Prof. Michelle McConnel)
  • Wearable sensors as medical devices (A/Prof Azam Ali, Prof Raechel Laing)

Further projects

  • Therapeutic Biomaterials for medical devices
  • Biometric scaffolds
  • Restorative dental materials
  • 3D biofabrication/printing technology,
  • Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, personalized teeth
  • Implantable medical devices
  • Microencapsulation, medical implant coatings
  • Performance testing (including in vitro/in vivo evaluation) of medical devices
  • Regulatory affairs and documentations (e.g. ISO13485, 510K, FDA, TUV, TGA, etc.)

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Our people

Biomaterials research leader

Associate Professor Azam Ali, biomaterials science and engineering

Associate investigators

  • Professor Mauro Farella, dental biomaterials and implantable medical devices
  • Dr. Jaydee Cabral, medical hydrogels, regenerative medicine, 3D bioprinting
  • Professor George Dias, bone substitutes and bone tissue engineering
  • A/Professor Stephen Moratti, medical gels
  • Dr Khoon Lim, hydrogel biomaterials and 3D bioprinting
  • Dr. Maree Gould, Dental Biomaterials
  • Professor Karl Lyons, restorative dental biomaterials
  • A/Professor Rajesh Katare, therapeutic biomaterials including miRNA, Wound care, Cardiac ECM
  • Dr. Andrew Clarkson, Neural tissue regeneration and soft tissues regeneration
  • Dr. Michelle McConnell, Antimicrobial biomaterials and in vitro/in vivo evaluation
  • Dr Yusuf Cakmak, senior lecturer, Department of Anatomy & Brain Health Research Centre. His research focuses on: the neuromodulation of internal organs and the brain structures to modulate their functions and blood flow.
  • Dr Shakila Rizwan, Senior Lecturer, School of Pharmacy & Brain Health Research Centre. Her Research focuses on: Biomaterials, formulation and physicochemical characterisation of lipid and polymer-based nano- and microparticle drug carriers system.

External Collaborations

  • Dr. Volker Nock, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Collaboration on Biofabrication of free-standing protein patterning devices for bioengineering applications.
  • Professor Maan Alkaisi (School of Electrical Engineering, University of Canterbury) Collaboration “Soft lithography towards Bionanotechnology for biomedical applications”.
  • Associate Professor Mark Staiger (School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury), collaboration on biocomposite scaffolds consisting of proteins-Mg for bone-tissue engineering applications.
  • Associate Professor Frederique Vanholsbeeck (Department of Physics, University of Auckland).
  • Dr. Paul Rose, Team leader, Callaghan Innovation (ex IRL).
  • Dr. Stewart Collie, Team Leader, AgResearch, Lincoln, Christchurch.
  • Dr. Elspeth MacRae, Science Leader, Biopolymer & Chemical Technologies, Scion,
  • Professor Robert Love, Dean & Head of Endodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, Griffith University, Australia. students since 2014, scoping joint funding application including HRC/MHARC).
  • Professor Yusuke Yamauchi, Group Leader, AIBN, Queensland University, Australia.
  • Professor Amar K. Mohanty, Premier's Research Chair in Biomaterials
    Professor, Department of Plant Agriculture & School of Engineering, Director, Bioproducts Discovery & Development Centre (BDDC), University of Guelph; ON, Canada.
  • Professor Xungai Wang, Director, Institute of Frontier Materials, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.
  • Professor Monique Lacroix, Director, Research Laboratories in Sciences, Canadian Irradiation Centre, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Laval Québec Canada.
  • Professor Dr. Saion K. Sinha, University Research Scholar University of New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
  • Professor Hai Qiang Wang, Director, Spinal Unit, Department of Orthopaedics, Xijing Hospital Fourth Military Medical University, Xian 710032, China.
  • Professor Ahmed El-Ghannam, Director of Orthopedic Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Lab., Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), Charlotte, NC 28223.

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Publications

Hewitt, E., Mros, S., McConnell, M., Cabral, J. D., & Ali, A. (2019). Melt-electrowriting with novel milk protein/PCL biomaterials for skin regeneration. Biomedical Materials. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1088/1748-605X/ab3344

Shavandi, A., & Ali, M. A. (2019). Graft polymerization onto wool fibre for improved functionality. Progress in Organic Coatings, 130, 182-199. doi: 10.1016/j.porgcoat.2019.01.054

Shavandi, A., & Ali, M. A. (2019). Keratin based thermoplastic biocomposites: A review. Reviews in Environmental Science & Biotechnology, 18(2), 299-316. doi: 10.1007/s11157-019-09497-x

Ryder, K., Ali, M. A., Billakanti, J., & Carne, A. (2018). Fundamental characterisation of caseins harvested by dissolved air flotation from dairy wastewater and comparison with skim milk powder. International Dairy Journal, 78, 112-121. doi: 10.1016/j.idairyj.2017.11.007

Giteru, S. G., Ali, M. A., & Oey, I. (2018). Solvent strength and biopolymer blending effects on physicochemical properties of zein-chitosan-polyvinyl alcohol composite films. Food Hydrocolloids. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2018.08.006

Chapter in Book - Research

Ali, M. A., & Shavandi, A. (2016). Medical textiles testing and quality assurance. In L. Wang (Ed.), Performance testing of textiles: Methods, technology and applications. (pp. 129-154). Duxford, UK: Woodhead. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-100570-5.00007-4

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Journal - Research Article

Hewitt, E., Mros, S., McConnell, M., Cabral, J. D., & Ali, A. (2019). Melt-electrowriting with novel milk protein/PCL biomaterials for skin regeneration. Biomedical Materials. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1088/1748-605X/ab3344

Shavandi, A., & Ali, M. A. (2019). Graft polymerization onto wool fibre for improved functionality. Progress in Organic Coatings, 130, 182-199. doi: 10.1016/j.porgcoat.2019.01.054

Ryder, K., Ali, M. A., Billakanti, J., & Carne, A. (2018). Fundamental characterisation of caseins harvested by dissolved air flotation from dairy wastewater and comparison with skim milk powder. International Dairy Journal, 78, 112-121. doi: 10.1016/j.idairyj.2017.11.007

Giteru, S. G., Ali, M. A., & Oey, I. (2018). Solvent strength and biopolymer blending effects on physicochemical properties of zein-chitosan-polyvinyl alcohol composite films. Food Hydrocolloids. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2018.08.006

Shavandi, A., & Ali, A. (2018). A new adhesive from waste wool protein hydrolysate. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 6(5), 6700-6706. doi: 10.1016/j.jece.2018.10.022

Ryder, K., Ali, M. A., Carne, A., & Billakanti, J. (2017). The potential use of dairy by-products for the production of non-food biomaterials. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science & Technology, 47(8), 621-642. doi: 10.1080/10643389.2017.1322875

Ajay Sharma, L., Love, R. M., Ali, M. A., Sharma, A., Macari, S., Avadhani, A., & Dias, G. J. (2017). Healing response of rat pulp treated with an injectable keratin hydrogel. Journal of Applied Biomaterials & Functional Materials, 15(3), e244-e250. doi: 10.5301/jabfm.5000346

Giteru, S. G., Oey, I., Ali, M. A., Johnson, S. K., & Fang, Z. (2017). Effect of kafirin-based films incorporating citral and quercetin on storage of fresh chicken fillets. Food Control, 80, 37-44. doi: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2017.04.029

Dias, G. J., Mahoney, P., Hung, N. A., Sharma, L. A., Kalita, P., Smith, R. A., … Ali, A. (2017). Osteoconduction in keratin-hydroxyapatite composite bone-graft substitutes. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B, 105(7), 2034-2044. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33735

Hashemi, A., de Decker, F., Orcheston-Findlay, L., Ali, M. A., Alkaisi, M. M., & Nock, V. (2017). Enhanced pattern resolution, swelling-behaviour and biocompatibility of bioimprinted casein microdevices. AIP Advances, 7, 115019. doi: 10.1063/1.4991783

Curline-Wandl, S. A., & Ali, M. A. (2016). Single channel myoelectric control of a 3D printed transradial prosthesis. Cogent Engineering, 3(1), 1245541. doi: 10.1080/23311916.2016.1245541

Ajay Sharma, L., Ali, M. A., Love, R. M., Wilson, M. J., & Dias, G. J. (2016). Novel keratin preparation supports growth and differentiation of odontoblast-like cells. International Endodontic Journal, 49(5), 471-482. doi: 10.1111/iej.12476

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Sun, Z., & Ali, M. A. (2016). Injectable gel from squid pen chitosan for bone tissue engineering applications. Journal of Sol-Gel Science & Technology, 77(3), 675-687. doi: 10.1007/s10971-015-3899-6

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Sun, Z., & Ali, M. A. (2016). Bio-scaffolds produced from irradiated squid pen and crab chitosan with hydroxyapatite/β-tricalcium phosphate for bone-tissue engineering. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 93(Part B), 1446-1456. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.04.046

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Sun, Z., & Ali, A. (2015). A review of synthesis methods, properties and use of hydroxyapatite as a substitute of bone. Journal of Biomimetics, Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, 25, 98-117. doi: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/JBBBE.25.98

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Sun, Z., & Ali, M. A. (2015). Preparation and characterisation of irradiated crab chitosan and New Zealand Arrow squid pen chitosan. Materials Chemistry & Physics, 167, 295-302. doi: 10.1016/j.matchemphys.2015.10.047

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Ali, M. A., Sun, Z., & Gould, M. (2015). Development and characterization of hydroxyapatite/β-TCP/chitosan composites for tissue engineering applications. Materials Science & Engineering: C, 56, 481-493. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2015.07.004

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Sun, Z., Ali, A., & Gould, M. (2015). A novel squid pen chitosan/hydroxyapatite/β-tricalcium phosphate composite for bone tissue engineering. Materials Science & Engineering: C, 55, 373-383. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2015.05.029

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Ali, A., & Sun, Z. (2015). Synthesis of nano-hydroxyapatite (nHA) from waste mussel shells using a rapid microwave method. Materials Chemistry & Physics, 149-150, 607-616. doi: 10.1016/j.matchemphys.2014.11.016

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Ali, M. A., & Sun, Z. (2015). Bio-mimetic composite scaffold from mussel shells, squid pen and crab chitosan for bone tissue engineering. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 80, 445-454. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2015.07.012

Hashemi, A., Mutreja, I., Alkaisi, M. M., Nock, V., & Ali, M. A. (2015). Fabrication of free-standing casein devices with micro- and nanostructured regular and bioimprinted surface features. Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics & Nanometer Structures, 33(6), 06F901. doi: 10.1116/1.4931591

Shavandi, A., Bekhit, A. E.-D. A., Ali, A., Sun, Z., & Ratnayake, J. T. (2015). Microwave-assisted synthesis of high purity β-tricalcium phosphate crystalline powder from the waste of Green mussel shells (Perna canaliculus). Powder Technology, 273, 33-39. doi: 10.1016/j.powtec.2014.12.029

Wan, Z.-Y., Song, F., Sun, Z., Chen, Y.-F., Zhang, W.-L., Samartzis, D., … Ali, M.-A., … Luo, Z.-J. (2014). Aberrantly expressed long noncoding RNAs in human intervertebral disc degeneration: A microarray related study. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 16, 465. doi: 10.1186/s13075-014-0465-5

Ghosh, A., & Ali, M. A. (2012). Studies on physicochemical characteristics of chitosan derivatives with dicarboxylic acids. Journal of Materials Science, 47, 1196-1204. doi: 10.1007/s10853-011-5885-x

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