The project goal is to manufacture scaffolds for tissue engineering from novel coated microspheres. Such scaffolds have a high potential to be used in bone and cartilage regeneration in orthopaedic or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) applications. Monodisperse microspheres that allow encapsulation of growth factors have been developed at the University of Kansas (KU). Prof. Detamore from KU and I worked on using selective laser sintering (SLS) to sinter microspheres that have a coating to satisfy biological and mechanical needs of a scaffold with a composite material. SLS and other additive manufacturing (AM) techniques allow to create three dimensional structures with internal architectures, which is not possible by the process currently used to make scaffolds from the microspheres. We were successful with large microspheres in initial trials and need to bring down the microsphere size for the proposed use in tissue engineering for the TMJ, especially
for use with the animal models for early stage (rabbit) and pre-clinical studies (pig) beyond my project scope. The challenge is to apply even coatings with a predefined thickness on microspheres with a diameter of 50-200 μm in a circulating fluidised bed. In addition, we want to establish a non-thermal AM technique for the use with microspheres by adaption of 3D printing techniques to allow inclusion of growth factors. The research is complemented by cell culturing to investigate the performance of the scaffolds generated via the AM techniques.
Bringing the microsphere technology and the associated TMJ research to Europe and joining it with my expertise in AM enables me to set up an independent research group that can gain high visibility in the international TMJ research community. The project includes training on the circulating fluidised bed, cell culturing and harvesting of cells from the cord, grant writing to apply for US funding and further collaborations with institutes around the world, and outreach activities.
Fields of science
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