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Development of novel responsive biomaterials for tissue engineering applications

Project Overview

Currently, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major health problem worldwide, and is the leading cause of death in the western world. In the UK alone, CVD accounts for 238,000 (39%) of all deaths per annum with heart attack being the main cause of death in patients with CVD, characterized by the loss of cardiomyocytes. Tissue engineering strategies have been developed using different cell types to replace the lost or damaged cells. Of which, embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived cardiomyocytes are recommended as it could recreate tissue engineered myocardium with higher efficiency, bypassing the problem of transdifferentiation with the use of other cells like bone marrow progenitor cells. For the delivery of hESCs to the heart, biomaterials are needed for spatial organization, targeted delivery, re-creation of a suitable synthetic extracellular matrix (ECM) and the differentiation of hESCs to cardiomyocytes.

The aim of my research is to develop novel biomaterials that have the potential to be used in biological applications such as drug delivery or tissue engineering. One of the special properties of the material is its thermo-responsiveness at a physiological temperature. These materials are a promising class of materials that brings about many possibilities of applications in the field of cellular therapy. In this project, we developed a novel highly water soluble chitosan and investigated its application in the formation of thermoresponsive hydrogels, thermoresponsive emulsion and thermoresponsive scaffolds. We will explore the use of such platforms for the tissue engineering and the subsequent differentiation of hESCs to cardiomyocytes in vitro. The effects of mechanical, electrical and biochemical stimuli on the hESCs differentiation shall also be investigated.

Researcher

Bernice Oh
Affiliated PhD student

Supervisors:
Prof. Mary Chan
Prof. Alexander Bismarck
Prof. Sakis Mantalaris
Dr. Mayasari Lim 

Sponsor:
NTU

 

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