Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine aim to either replace diseased or damaged tissue with a functional, laboratory-grown substitute, or stimulate the body’s own cells in order to promote repair. A key component of both approaches is the scaffold, the structure which gives a three-dimensional environment for cell growth and tissue formation. Scaffolds must possess a number of key characteristics for optimum tissue formation, not least the ability to promote adhesion, proliferation and, ideally, differentiation of cells. To control these parameters, a variety of biomaterials can be used either alone, or in combination with others, and these can be processed into numerous different structures such as microparticles and nanofibres. While tremendous progress has been made in the development of scaffolds, there are still a number of challenges to be overcome for the widespread delivery of cell-based biomedical products. By utilizing expertise in biomaterials science and controlled drug delivery systems, this project aims to develop novel bioactive scaffolds that are multifunctional in nature, enabling the scale-up, differentiation and delivery of cells to areas of damage or disease.
This project will provide training in biomaterials and cell biology, with techniques likely to include cell culture, biomaterial modification, 3D printing of devices, fluorescence microscopy, metabolic assays, immunocytochemistry, histology and scanning electron microscopy.