Research area: Nanomaterials, biomaterials
Supervisors: Prof Namita Roy Choudhury and Prof Naba Dutta
Description: Macroporous three-dimensional polymer scaffolds play an important role in tissue engineering. Successful tissue regeneration requires strong interaction amongst three components: the cells that restore tissue, a scaffold to hold the cells as they create tissues, and signaling moieties that direct the cells to form the tissue.
Of fundamental importance in tissue engineering are the interactions at the cell-polymer interface, which eventually leads to functional substitutes of damaged tissues through complex interactions of living cells, bioactive molecules and three-dimensional porous scaffolds, which support cell attachment, proliferation and differentiation. The physico-chemical nature of the scaffold surface strongly influences the number of cells that attach and their course of differentiation and growth Synthetic, biodegradable polymer scaffolds have been mostly developed based on functional poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid), their blends with other polymers or poly(lactic acid-co-lysine) based comb-like graft copolymers. The incorporation of amino acid chains into the polymer structure can impart new properties to the scaffold materials, in particular the potential to modify their surface properties, without losing its mechanical characteristics.
Therefore, in this work we plan to develop non-immunogenic peptide and recombinant protein based nanostructured biomimetic 3D matrices as instructive local microenvironment for tissue regeneration and to use these novel matrices as reliable in vitro model for fast systematic in vitro screening of bone and cartilage tissue. The property changes are expected to depend upon the particular peptide used as well as the chain length and overall composition of the polymer.
The polymer chosen will have functional sites for chemical modification with peptides, thus providing the opportunity for the attachment of biologically active molecules that can actively promote favorable cell-polymer interactions. In order to study their potential as scaffolds for tissue engineering, the preparation of 3D scaffold using electrospinning, their modification by attachment of bio-active molecules and finally the attachment of cells will be investigated.
Funding: A grant application to the NH&MRC is currently being assessed. If successful, this grant will support one IWRI fully funded scholarship. International students should apply for an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) and a UniSA President's Scholarship (UPS).
Australian students should apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and a UniSA Australian Postgraduate Research Award (USAPRA).