Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Recent studies in Dundee of adhesion of protein residues on different diamond-like carbon surfaces have shown that modification of diamond surfaces by Si can reduce adhesion of the residues. Electrostatic interactions of point charges created on the surface by atomic substitution have the largest contribution in such reduction. We are proposing to use computational methods to design novel surfaces which promote bone material growth and adhesion to use as bone implants. As bones are built from collagen and hydroxyapatite, a successful bone-friendly material would show high adhesion to both of these components. Currently, most vascular implants are made of stainless steel, cobalt alloys and Nitinol and polymer and ceramic coating with drug eluting function. The majority of bone implants are made off titanium with a polymer cement or ceramic coating that may disintegrate in the body affecting the fitting of the implant. More recently, implants promoting bone growth by means of interpenetration of bone into highly porous materials synthesised from powdered metals by laser sintering have appeared. These materials, however, may have reduced mechanical strength compared to usual titanium-cast implants. A surface coating either in the form of adsorbed self-assembled monolayer or obtained from chemical modification of the titanium surface may considerably increase the implant integration with the bone and thus reduce the risk of implant loosening and increase serving time of the implant. The proposed research will use computational chemistry methods to design different modifications to titanium surface and to screen their properties in terms of protein and hydroxyapatite adhesion. Hydroxyapatite is the important building material of the bone and it has the ability to interact with protein components of the bone structure as well as other tissue cells.

Similarly, investigations have been developed at UoA aimed at designing bone-like compositions that can stimulate bone cell growth. Correlating the new chemistries that have been produced with the behaviour of cells grown on their surfaces will require interfacial studies to be made to correlate how different surface chemistries affect cell growth. Preliminary studies have shown that the contact angle and surface charge of these materials can be altered as a result of their final chemical compositions. In order to produce better implants, and understand better the behaviour of existing implants, establishing the correlation between the surface properties and cell behaviour is a priority and will be a major part of future research and will involve specific focuses for developing artificial cornea from lens epithelial cell behaviour following cataract.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Andreas Melzer, UoD

Deputy Directors
Radhakrishna Prabhu, UoD

Ian Gibson, UoA

David Lurie, UoA

Fiona Gilbert, UoA

Sandy Cochran, UoD

Eric Abel, UoD