Biomaterials is a growing field that focuses on the development of materials to replace or augment human tissues. Tissue engineering is a subset of biomaterials and is rapidly expanding as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. Advances in tissue engineering integrate discoveries from biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and materials science to produce three-dimensional structures with specific properties that enable us to replace or repair damaged, missing or poorly functioning biological components. Within tissue engineering, the process ofelectrospinning has demonstrated the most promise as a potential manufacturing technique by providing the right balance of speed, cost and biocompatibility for the replacement of nearly all human organs. Tissue engineering research within materials science and engineering at Ohio State includes:
- “Smart” Polymers—injectable hydrogels that allow for the delivery of growth factors, genes and cells to damaged heart tissues.
- Biomimetic Elastomers—elastic polymers that mimick mechanical properties of the tissue and key functions of proteins found in the body.
- Engineered Skin—our research involving electrospun collagen and collagen-synthetic composites has shown improved collagen strength and elasticity while allowing for easy application.
- Heart “Patches” and Blood Vessels—electrospinning can be used to create novel constructs that provide the right balance of properties and cell “friendly” microenvironments.
- Microenvironment for Stem Cell Differentiation—engineering tissue construct microenvironment to direct stem cell differentiation.
- Immunoisolation System—protecting cells with biomaterials to avoid immune attack, which improves the efficacy of cell transplantation.
- Aligned Fiber Assays—highly aligned electrospun fibers have been developed and are being used in the diagnosis and treatment of many highly metastatic cancers.
- Femtosecond Laser Machining—femtosecond lasers provide unique patterning capabilities in scaffold development with an accuracy of less than 10 µm.
- Biomaterials for Islet Delivery—as components of pancreas replacements, we are designing materials to preserve the function of islets after they have been harvested from a donor and to aid in the delivery of these islets within the recipient patient that will promote their long-term health and survival.
- Tendon Repair—Tissue-engineered constructs are being fabricated that will shorten the recovery time associated with tendon repair and also improve function.
- Tissue-engineered cardiac patches and blood vessels—Engineering tissue constructs based on stem cell and biomimetic elastomers for cardiac tissue and blood vessel regeneration