Knee cartilage defects and consequent degeneration contribute to the development of osteoarthritis (OA). OA affects the mechanical integrity of the tissue, whose main function is to absorb shock and minimize peak loads in the underlying subchondral bone.
Tissue engineering methods propose solutions to OA by implanting chondrocyte cell-enriched hydrogel/scaffold constructs within degenerative cartilage defects. By applying mechanical loads to stimulate the cells within the constructs, they initiate cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis. The mechanical environment of the cell-seeded construct has a crucial role in defining the quality and quantity of the regenerated ECM. This will determine the mechanical performance of the cartilage tissue. Indeed, any repair method has to aim at restoring the unique cartilage mechanics, in particular, the energy absorption capacity.
This project aims at restoring energy absorption of degenerative cartilage by optimizing regeneration in cell-enriched construct implants. The goal will be pursued by developing an in-silico framework for mechanobiological modelling of the regeneration and degeneration in the cartilage-implant compound during loading. Unique in the in-silico framework is the simultaneous modelling of regenerative and degenerative processes through adaptive modelling of the ECM. An innovative regeneration algorithm will be developed and integrated with a previously developed degeneration model. The adaptive model will then be used in an optimization scheme to minimize differences between energy absorption of construct implant and native human cartilage. An iterative performance evaluation is foreseen in comparison with biological experiments.
In collaboration with the participating research groups and using my background, I will have a unique chance to take a step forward in furthering insights on OA disease process. The anticipated collaborations and training will contribute to making me a mature researcher.
Field of science
- /medical and health sciences/medical biotechnology/tissue engineering
- /medical and health sciences/medical biotechnology/medical bioproducts/implants
Call for proposal
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