There is an increasing demand in bone tissue engineering for immunomodulatory three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds that promote osteogenesis and modulate immune responses, by delivering bioactive factors. With the rapid growth of technology, tissue engineering offers the development of functional 3D-printed hydrogels modified with bioactive nanoparticles as carriers for stem cells that become the alternative therapy for autogenous bone grafting in dental and maxillofacial field (Gjerde C et al 2018). We know that age-driven immune signals cause a state of chronic low-grade inflammation and in consequence affects the potency of endogenous stem cells (Josephson AM et al 2019). This could explain the challenges facing surgeons while reconstructing critical-sized bone defects in elderly patients. These very often require bone augmentation using an autogenous bone graft, which is associated with clinical drawbacks, related to limited tissue availability, that increase patient morbidity (Gjerde C et al 2018) and risk of infections at the donor surgical site (Amini AR et al 2012). We developed bioactive nanoparticles with both osteogenic and anti-inflammatory properties which are derived from plants and its active moiety is called Rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I). Recent findings (Suliman et al. 2021) have shown that RG-I plays a role in the modulation of inflammatory response, both in vitro and in vivo, and promotes the initiation of bone formation in a critical-sized bone defect of an aged and osteoporotic rodent. This PhD Studentship will focus on optimisation of immunomodulatory 3D-printed hydrogels that promote osteogenesis leading to clinical impact in musculoskeletal tissue engineering.
AIM: To evaluate the effect of RG-I nanoparticles incorporation in 3D printed hydrogel bioink as a carrier for human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to stimulate osteogenic and immunomodulatory response as an alternative to autogenous bone grafting.
Applicants are welcome to send enquiries to Katarzyna Gurzawska-Comis [Email Address Removed].
However please note that the application (CV and cover letter) must be sent to [Email Address Removed], with subject line “PhD studentship application – Katarzyna Gurzawska-Comis - Green Bone – 3D printed matrices functionalised with plant-derived nanoparticles for bone regeneration in ageing population”.