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biomaterials, tissue engineering, medical devices, assistive technology

Current Project (funded by the Busch Biomedical Grant) A Novel Approach Utilizing a Biomaterial Scaffold for the Prevention of Trauma-Induced Heterotopic Ossification
Collaborator; Dr. Joseph Freeman
Heterotopic Ossification (HO) is the formation of bone in places where it is normally not found, such as in muscle and soft tissues, and is commonly seen in combat-related amputations and blast injuries. HO can have neurogenic and genetic causes, however traumatic HO is the most common and on the rise due to the prevalence of modern warfare. HO can cause several issues including pain and limited range of motion, however for amputees, the most significant effect is poor prosthesis fit. Current treatments include administering anti-inflammatory drugs or low-dose radiation, however these don’t always work, resulting in painful surgical excision of the bone. Therefore, an unmet need exists for a novel treatment strategy to mitigate HO.
We propose a completely new approach; to take common tissue engineering practices intended to induce bone growth, and engineer the inverse of these techniques to create a scaffold that will appropriately heal, but then stifle, abnormal bone growth. We will select biomaterials based on degradation rates and acidic byproducts to prevent mineralization, and employ fabrication techniques such as 3-D printing, salt-leaching and electrospinning to create a unique scaffold with small pores to discourage bone growth. We will test the scaffold’s ability to inhibit bone cell growth in vitro, and will then test the chosen scaffold in an appropriate animal model of bone growth. These studies can lead to a completely new approach for a rapidly growing problem in our military, but can be extended to others who have suffered traumatic limb loss.

Current Lab Members include:

Nikhil Paul, MS  2022 CONGRATS NIKHIL!!

Doga Oruc, Combined Degree Program (BS/MS) 2022/TBD

Oyin Fasasi, BS Candidate 2023

Shannon Bertin, BS Candidate 2024


Dariya Lizanets, BME 2021. Currently a PhD student at Wake Forest University