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Injectable Biocomposites for Bone Regeneration

Primary Investigators:
Scott A. Guelcher (PI) (ChBE)

Brief Description of Project:
A fundamental goal of orthopaedic tissue engineering is to design and develop biodegradable materials having targeted biological and biomechanical properties that direct regeneration and healing of damaged tissues in vivo.  There is a particularly compelling clinical need for injectable therapies that promote enhanced fracture healing in orthopaedic trauma patients with injuries characterized by massive tissue loss. A non-cell-based strategy for achieving this goal involves incorporating growth factors and an osteoconductive filler in an injectable delivery system. Based on this approach, the overall objective of this project is to design and develop an injectable biocomposite incorporating bioglass fibers and recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) delivered in a biocompatible, biodegradable lysine-derived polyurethane.  Methods for improving the mechanical properties of the biocomposite through modification of the bioglass surface will be investigated, as well as the effects of the surface modification on the cellular response. For the summer of 2011, the undergraduate students will characterize the mechanical properties of the bicomposites and measure the extent of osteoclast-mediated resorption of the bioglass component in vitro using cell culture techniques.
 
Nature of Supervision:
The undergraduate student will work with Professor Guelcher and a graduate student in the Guelcher group.

A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Week 1:  Safety training; learn basics of synthetic approach; read literature
Weeks 2-3:  Synthesize bioglass/polymer biocomposites
Weeks 4-9:  Perform characterization or cell culture experiments.
Week 10:  Write final report and prepare poster

Number of Open Slots: 2

Contact Information:
Scott A Guelcher
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Phone: 322-9097
scott.guelcher@vanderbilt.edu