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Our tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies involve combining a patient's own cells with 3D printed biodegradable scaffolds and growth factors. With the right conditions and helpful scaffold constituents and geometries we can achieve automated construction of living tissue.

The therapies that can develop from these technologies may offer considerable advantages over current surgical interventions used to repair or regenerate damaged or lost tissue.

Close up of cell feeding media being pipetted

Current projects

Developing novel photo-polymerisable hydrogels for 3D bioprinting of functional tissues

Dr Khoon Lim is our biomedical engineer specialising in polymer chemistry. He leads a number of projects using a class of polymers know as hydrogels as tissue engineering matrices.

His research involves developing novel photo-polymerisable hydrogel bioinks or bioresins for the 3D bioprinting of functional tissues. The biodegradable matrices formed from hydrogels are also used for the delivery of bioactive molecules to promote tissue regeneration.

Key research applications include cartilage repair, bone vascularisation, 3D cancer models for high-throughput drug screening and smart delivery of growth factors for stroke recovery.

Developing structurally-enhanced adipose tissue grafts for breast cancer reconstruction

Gretel Major works with patient adipose tissue samples to engineer constructs for breast cancer reconstruction.

Her research involves using these adipose tissue analogues for two different purposes, 1) for developing structurally-enhanced fat grafts with increased cell survival compared with conventional native grafts, and 2) as mature adipose constructs for modelling breast cancer invasion in vitro. By using patient-derived tissue, she hopes to develop more representative models of the adipose-rich breast cancer microenvironment and understand how this environment affects cancer progression.

Cardiac tissue regeneration and the treatment of myocardial infarction

The use of 3D printing technologies to fabricate functional three-dimensional cardiac tissue is one of Dr Steven Cui's research directions.

He aims to develop a minimally invasive surgical system for delivering cardiac stem cells to the site of damage, encouraging tissue regeneration as a treatment for myocardial infarction.

Quantification of cartilage and bone quality using Spectral CT

Kenzie Baer works with MARS Spectral CT imaging to determine the quality of cartilage and bone tissue based on quantifiable factors of the tissue.

Her research investigates the ability to image multiple tissues in a single scan and determine health of both tissues and to create a quantitative scale for bone and cartilage health. A single scan with quantitative analysis of multiple tissue health will allow for easier detection of disease as well as aid in the understanding of multiple tissue connections through disease progression.

Her research also looks at the ability to image regenerative tissue engineering technologies currently being developed with Spectral CT as an additional spatial analysis tool.

Developing patient-specific cartilage bioimplants in health and inflammatory osteoarthritic conditions

Laura Veenendaal is exploring cartilage bioimplants suitable for the wider patient population. Her research has two main approaches: (1) understanding and modelling the patient population experiencing osteoarthritis; and (2) developing new osteoarthritis (OA) treatments suitable for the wider patient population.

She aims to develop cartilage bioimplants that show successful tissue formation and integration with native host tissue in both healthy and diseased conditions by modelling in vivo-like OA conditions present in the wider patient population. By developing and evaluating bioimplants in various in vivo-like conditions, ranging from healthy to severe OA, she hopes to improve clinical translation of bioimplants not only in healthy knees, but also for people whose knees are affected with OA.

Development of oxygen controlling biomaterials for 3D-biofabrication

Diffusion limitations is one of the major hurdles for tissue engineered graft design, with oxygen being one of the essential metabolites affected. Not only is a stable oxygen supply essential for regeneration of damaged tissues, it is also a key regulator of cellular functions.

Axel Norberg's work centres around the development of oxygen controlling biomaterials to mimic the natural oxygen levels that tissues within our bodies experience, with a main focus on osteochondral applications.

Understanding and controlling the oxygen levels within tissue engineered scaffolds is essential to overcoming the limitations associated with hypoxia and would open the door for the development of next generation tissue engineered constructs.

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