Current dermal substitutes are suboptimal and do not mimic the physiological and pathological conditions required for in vitro biological, cancer and drug discovery studies. Extension of a well established freeze drying approach will allow replication of the complex 3D architecture and mechanics of native tissue with consequent improved cell infiltration, survival and de novo matrix deposition. This approach will be multi-facetted. Initially the fabrication parameters of the freeze drying system will be systematically tuned for oprimal porosity, mechanics and cell cues. This will be guided by host institution’s wealth of experience in scaffold fabrication. Secondly other dermal-specific ECM molecules will be incorporated to bestow their beneficial mechanical and cell-biological properties to the scaffolds. This will capitalise on the fellow’s current research on the biomedical uses of recombinant tropoelastin. A third line of enquiry will analyse the contraction and cell phenotype of these composite scaffolds. The fourth line of investigation will extend the use of thermal moulds to produce scaffolds with dermal-like anisotropic 3D structures.
Consistent with the IIF objectives the fellow will engage in cutting edge research using the host’s world-leading facilities, giving him the opportunity to develop a thorough repertoire of materials mechanics skills to compliment his abilities at the bio-physical interface. The fellow is at the threshold of independent researcher status as he can develop his own research areas, has extensive multidisciplinary research experience and an excellent publication record. This IIF will allow him to extend his career, leading to independent research by immersion in the highly multi-disciplinary environment provided by the host institution. Moreover this IIF will allow the fellow to impart his unique biomaterials knowledge, abilities and collaborative networks from Australia to the host institution and EU researchers.
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