The proposed project aims to develop engineered biodegradable conducting 3D scaffolds capable of promoting neuronal survival, as well as axon extension and guidance, for treating peripheral nerve lesions. Current approaches focus on the sensitivity of neurons to the surrounding environment, which includes surface topography, biochemical cues, and electrical activity. Constructs implanted in vivo are also subject to mechanical constrains that have an impact on tissue formation. This project aims to investigate the influence of these mechanical stimulations on scaffolds and neuronal cells proliferation. Moreover, the mechanical constrains applied on engineered tissues inside the body will be evaluated with flexible biodegradable strain sensors developed for this purpose. Finally, scaffolds with various geometries designed to absorb the vibrations will be fabricated and evaluated. This project proposes an additional strategy that can be combined to other therapies to improve nerve regeneration.
The first part of the project will be performed at Stanford University, USA, in the group of Organic and Carbon Nano Materials for Electronic Devices led by Prof. Z. Bao.
Main tasks: literature search, produce the scaffolds, implement a measurement setup allowing mechanical stimulations of scaffolds in liquid, perform an in vitro degradation study on scaffolds, develop mechanical models, develop and characterize a biodegradable strain sensor.
The second part of the project will be performed at EPFL, Switzerland, in the Laboratory for Soft Bioelectronic Interfaces led by Prof. S. Lacour.
main tasks: Implement a mechanical stimulation setup in liquid based on existing setup in the lab, produce scaffolds, perform an in vitro study on scaffolds with neuronal cells and mechanical stimulation, perform an in vitro study on the strain sensor to verify its biocompatibility, design, fabricate, and assess the in vivo performances of scaffolds with new geometries.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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