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The fabrication of complex structures using biodegradable polymerised high internal phase emulsion (PolyHIPE) scaffolds for targeted drug delivery

   Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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  Prof Fred Claeyssens, Prof P Hatton, Dr I Ortega  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

To apply for this programme, please visit Informal enquiries are welcome, to [Email Address Removed]

ABM CDT There are a variety of unmet clinical needs in oral medicine that would benefit from direct delivery of therapeutic molecules to a specific site, including medication induced osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ). This condition leads to the development lesions in oral soft tissues that expose the underlying bone, which is then infected by a range of pathogenic microorganisms, causing pain and reducing quality of life. These lesions are effectively untreatable, and current work in the School of Clinical Dentistry has been directed at the fabrication of prostheses to protect the site from further injury. The aim of this project is to advance this research beyond protection to delivery of therapeutic agents to eliminate the infection and promote tissue regeneration. The supervisors have recently developed a number of biodegradable porous materials based on polyHIPEs, and demonstrated that it is suitable for additive manufacturing to create complex/custom shapes. In previous work we produced polyHIPE microspheres for bone tissue engineering and we have also combined polyHIPEs with electrospinning to produce a guided bone regeneration membrane. This biomaterial system provides a very high surface area:volume ratio on account of the generation of a highly microporous surface using a polyHIPE approach, and it is biocompatible and already used in bulk in medical applications.

Main questions to be answered:

  1. What is the optimum poly(HIPE) formulation(s) for the manufacture of a range of custom, complex, or similarly useful shapes including microspheres for drug delivery applications in oral medicine? This includes determination of macro and microporosity (determined using SEM and microCT).
  2. Can we produce implants that aid guided tissue regeneration in MRONJ, focusing on optimising the microporous structure for osteoblast ingrowth, while providing a barrier to fibroblast ingrowth.
  3. Do microporous structures release a greater proportion of loaded therapeutic agents (e.g. antibiotics) more rapidly, and how do the kinetics of drug delivery differ between microporous and bulk polymer structures? There are opportunities to enhance this aspect of the research with in silico modelling studies, alongside conventional investigation of the release and activity of drugs from the biomaterial.
  4. How may therapeutically useful polyHIPE structures be combined with custom intraoral prostheses to locate and secure the active component over an MRONJ lesion?

University of Manchester, Department of Materials - 19 PhD Projects Available

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