Biomimetic Materials and Tissue Regeneration

Regenerative tissue engineering involves the re-establishment of function of damaged and impaired systems which can range from the whole organism level down to specific tissues or organs and even the cellular level. Regenerative Medicine lies at the heart of many treatments and diseases and involves the study and development of specially-grown tissues and cells (including stem cells), artificial organs, and laboratory-made compounds for the treatment of injuries and disease.

Biomimetic materials aim to resemble the structure and function of biological materials. The work in our lab is inspired by nature and determining which factors are key in tissue growth and regeneration. By exploiting in advances in material science has allowed for dramatic advancement in nanoscale patterning and analysis for fabrication of appropriate substrates and the study of cell–substrate interactions to promote tissue regeneration and stem cell therapies.

The barrier to achieving the implementation of these cell therapies is to be able to direct a large number of viable cells with high efficiency to tissues of interest.  The current development of nanobiotechnologies requires a better understanding of cell–surface interactions on the nanometre scale.

Recently, the focus of this research is to develop a simple platform technology that involves a stepwise process including the modification of surface chemistry and topography to stimulate mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to respond in a predictive fashion. The objective here involves gaining fundamental knowledge of the structure and properties of surfaces fabricated as well as investigating their utility for regenerative cell therapies.