A plethora of biomaterial scaffolds are researched worldwide for a broad range of tissue applications but consideration of their immune compatibility is often neglected until further down the translational pipeline. By this point considerable time and resources may have been wasted if these scaffolds are subsequently found to have a detrimental effect on cell response and hence are no longer usable for their intended application. This project aims to incorporate immunocompatibility assessment early in the design of scaffold structures and determine what architectures elicit a response.
We seek a motivated student with a strong interest in biomaterial scaffold design and their immunocompatibility. This PhD project focuses on developing scaffolds of different geometric design using several fabrication technologies (melt electrospinning, melt electrowriting, bioink and extrusion-based printing) and assessing their cellular interactions using a variety of cell types. This PhD project will provide fascinating insight into the design considerations of scaffolds, which are frequently fabricated for a broad range of different applications in tissue regeneration but their impact on immune response is often overlooked until further down the translational pipeline.
Project objectives will include:
1. Fabrication of scaffolds using several different technologies to create 2D and 3D structures of variable architecture
2. Physicochemical characterisation of these scaffolds (e.g. surface chemistry, mechanical properties)
3. Assessment of direct and indirect cell response to these scaffolds using cell lines and primary cells
4. Assessment of macrophage, T cell, and mast cell response to these scaffolds
5. Assessment of complement activation to these scaffolds
You will undertake a variety of experiments and learn a range of new skills, including fibre production (electrospinning, melt electrowriting, bioink and extrusion-based printing), primary and immortal cell culture, macrophage, T cell and mast cell response, complement activation, imaging (SEM/confocal), in vitro assays, direct/indirect culture, mechanical testing, degradation studies.
You will be supervised by a collaborative team from the Department of Eye and Vision Science, Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences (Dr Lucy Bosworth) and Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology (Dr Neill Liptrott). The supervisory team has wide-ranging expertise and will provide training and support in all relevant laboratory and analytical techniques.