Identification and Optimisation of Atomic Scale Influences on Cell Response to Novel Bioactive Glass and Nanocomposite Tissue Scaffolds

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics


The aim of the proposed project is to develop new scaffold materials as osteogenic templates for bone regeneration that could play a key role in revolutionising healthcare in this area. The project is at the interface of Materials Science, Physics and Biology,. Novel nanoscale composites (calcium silicate/ polymer) will be developed that mimic the structure of bone both at the nanoscale, where bone is a nanoscale composite of collagen (polymer) and bone mineral (ceramic), and at the macroscale, where cancellous bone has a network of macropores. Through this project, the influence of changes in nano and atomic scale structure on bone cell response of these new materials and bioactive glass (calcium silicate) scaffolds will be investigated for the first time. The scaffolds will be optimised from the atomic to the macro scale for bone growth. The scaffolds will be based on bioactive sol-gel derived glasses that bond to bone and dissolve in the body, releasing ionic products that stimulate new bone growth. The nanocomposites are expected to do the same, although little is known about how the nanostructure of the either material affects cell response. This proposal seeks to rectify this by:1) Using cutting-edge characterisation techniques, such as NMR. synchrotron source X-ray diffraction (XRD) and neutron diffraction (ND), to investigate how processing variables (e.g. final processing temperature and polymer content) affect the scaffold nanostructure and mechanical properties. Not only will well developed aspects of these techniques be employed, but new avenues will be explored to include 17O and 43Ca MAS NMR (the latter of which is little studied), in situ XRD to examine the structural developments of the amorphous structure in real time and precise isotope ND difference experiments,,2) Investigating the effect of nanoscale structural changes on degradation and bioactivity, and3) Quantifying how changing the nanostructure of the scaffolds affects in vitro bone growth. Mechanisms of bioactivity with respect to the amorphous calcium -silicate structure will be clarified.


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Jones JR (2010) Bioactive glass scaffolds for bone regeneration and their hierarchical characterisation. in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine

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Martin RA (2012) Characterizing the hierarchical structures of bioactive sol-gel silicate glass and hybrid scaffolds for bone regeneration. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences