Translational development of a 3D bioactive nerve conduit for peripheral nerve repair, through application of topographical cues and stem cell support

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Medical, Veterinary &Life Sci

Abstract

Using Biotechnology to Improve the Outcome Following Devastating Nerve Injuries

Major nerve injuries can occur during birth, from accidental trauma, or as the result of cancer treatments. Unfortunately they are common (1-2 people in every 1000 each year), mainly affect young patients, and cause permanent disability. Many patients never return to gainful employment and all suffer long and painful recovery times. These injuries rank alongside cerebral palsy and spinal injury in terms of disability, and the effect on the lives of patients and their families. This in turn translates as a significant economic cost to society, both through medical interventions and loss of active members of workforce population. Furthermore, nerve repair limits what can be achieved with face or hand transplantation, and prevents useful transplantation of voiceboxes or legs, as the rate of healing is much slower and less successful than that of other types of tissue (e.g. skin/bone).
Reconstructive microsurgeons can repair damaged nerves, but even under the best circumstances many nerve fibres fail to cross the site of surgical repair or grow back to give function. If the damaged segment of the nerve is more than 1cm long, a sensory nerve must be borrowed from elsewhere in the body to bridge the gap, this causes scarring and permanent numbness at the donor site where this is taken from. Recovery is always very slow (~18 months), painful, and inadequate, since <50% of nerve cells actually regrow through traditional nerve repairs. It is vital that we discover what controls nerve healing and it is well recognised that we need to develop new technologies to improve surgical outcomes for these patients. Promising work is underway at the University of Glasgow and it's collaborating laboratories on this important topic.
Recent scientific advances in laboratory petri-dishes demonstrate that nerves heal better if the contour (topography) of the surface on they're growing on has tiny grooves to guide them - that knowledge has been applied to make tiny patterned tubes to use to direct the growth of repaired nerves. The tubes could also be used to deliver other useful treatments that will help the nerve fibres to grow better - for example a lot of research has been done by our laboratories and others, to show that stem cells taken from patient's fat (removed by liposuction), or safe drug treatments will also improve biological conditions for nerve healing. This project will combine these developments into a 3-D tube (conduit), that will be used to repair damaged nerves. The research will be undertaken at the world class research facilities in the Centre for Cell Engineering, University of Glasgow, and our partner laboratory in Sweden with detailed input from international experts (surgeons and scientists) in the field of nerve repair. By combining guidance cues, stem cells and drug treatments we believe we can enhance nerve healing, and improve quality of life for patients in the future.
Clinical applications of this exciting biotechnology are widespread and include nerve injury following civilian/military trauma, cancer treatments, birth injury, and face, limb, or voicebox transplants.

Technical Summary

Background:
Peripheral nerve injury is common, affecting children or young adults, and can be associated with devastating individual, socioeconomic and healthcare costs (e.g.£50,000 cost for median nerve injury). Despite rapid advances in microsurgical reconstruction techniques outcomes following repair remain poor and commercially available nerve conduits fail to surpass the current gold standard of sensory nerve autograft. As we continue to uncover the delicate neurobiology of nerve healing new areas for improving function following injury arise. The rigid 2 and 3-dimensional directional control of axonal growth upon polycaprolactone (clinically licensed, biodegradable) by microscale topographical cues has been demonstrated within our group, University of Glasgow. Evidence of the beneficial impact of differentiated adipose derived stem cells and pharmacological neuroprotection upon neuronal growth has been confirmed by collaborating laboratories. This project will combine these results to form a 3-D bioengineered, micropatterned nerve conduit that addresses the neurobiology of nerve repair, over a three year PhD programme.
Aim
To develop a novel nerve conduit that negates the need for sensory nerve sacrifice and improves the rate and directionality of regenerating nerve fibres across the site of surgical repair.
Method
Optimal conduit specifications will be confirmed in vitro (year 1) before testing in-vivo (year 2-3), as is necessary prior to clinical translation. DRG explant models will be cultured on topographically enhanced 3-D PCL conduits (engineered in house). Optimal stem cell co-culture parameters will be determined and selected to construct the nerve conduit for use in in-vivo studies. Rigorous outcome measures will be used to assess rat sciatic nerve repair using the 3-D nerve conduit to the current gold standard (autologous nerve graft). Furthermore the novel application micro-CT will provide detailed 3-D evaluation of axonal outgrowth.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries of this research are three fold, including the primary investigator and related peripheral nerve researchers, the wider research community and ultimately patients and society.

Patients and Society
This research will focus an important cause of disability in children and adults. Peripheral nerve injury, as a result of trauma, disease infiltration and cancer resection can result in permanent loss of function. Management of a median nerve injury costs society an average of £50,000 and outcomes remain unsatisfactory with lengthy recovery periods. Improving our understanding of nerve repair and how we can improve it will inform future therapies to improve patient outcomes and function and reduce the associated economic to society. In this way the results of this research, along with ongoing work by the University of Glasgow and collaborating laboratories will contribute to improving function and quality of life for future patients.
This PhD project will also allow for increased interaction with the lay public and medical professionals, promote an understanding of the impact of peripheral nerve injury on individuals and the exciting research that is being done to investigate this and other areas of medical technology development. This interaction will take several forms, including school open days, Brachial Plexus Clinic outreach events and medical/surgical conferences. In this way the impact of this research project will extend to promoting an interest in science and applied research to the wider population, which is vital to promote excellence in UK based research of the future.
Significant findings will be relayed to the public through national online and media resources, as appropriate under guidance from the University of Glasgow and MRC communications team.

Wider Research Community
The in vivo and in vitro methodology used in this project can be applied to other research areas e.g. combinational approaches to tissue engineering of other tissues,repair of central nervous system defects and development of 3-D bioreactors. The unique application of micro-CT will provide data/results of interest to other researchers wishing to explore novel means of evaluating growth in 3-D. This will be communicated regularly and efficiently to the wider research community as outlined in the communications plan.
International collaboration will promote knowledge sharing.

Primary Investigator
This research period will equip me with the skills in cell engineering and translational research required to pursue a career in academic plastic and reconstructive surgery. I will register for a PhD and endeavour to develop the skills required to lead future research within this field. This will be of direct benefit to me as an individual, improve my evidence based practice and help me to seek to collaborate with academic, clinical and commercial colleagues to develop novel management strategies for future patients.

Commercial Colleagues
Following refinement of conduit parameters and necessary in vivo testing in larger models commercial partnership will be sought to develop an off the shelf product for clinical translation. This research will help to inform design parameters and suitable sterilisation methods.

Any intellectual property will be protected through the University of Glasgow via its Research Strategy & Innovation Office, which actively supports and encourages all employees to seek to commercially evaluate new ideas and developments arising from their research. This office provides support to staff to protect their ideas and developments, and to execute agreed exploitation strategies. The team at the Centre for Cell Engineering has ample experience with engaging with the Universities Research Strategy & Innovation Office, establishing intellectual property, and its exploitation.
More information on the IP strategy of the University of Glasgow can be found at http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_185772_en

Publications

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Suzanne T (2016) Developing 3D interfaces to aid nerve repair in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology

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Thomson S (2019) Commentary to accompany the paper: The quality of systematic reviews addressing peripheral nerve repair and reconstruction. in Journal of plastic, reconstructive & aesthetic surgery : JPRAS

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Thomson S (2017) Bioengineered nerve conduits and wraps for peripheral nerve repair of the upper limb in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

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Thomson S (2017) Bioengineered nerve conduits and wraps for peripheral nerve repair of the upper limb in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

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Thomson S (2014) Combinational approaches to improve outcomes following peripheral nerve repair in Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery

 
Title Hunterian Associates Programme - Brachial Plexus Collection 
Description Through this project I seek to explore the topic from another perspective and receive feedback, whilst introducing interested audiences to: ? the beautiful and complex anatomy of their own nervous system through interaction with Hunter's nerve drawings and dissection specimens current nerve surgery - intraoperative descriptions and images and objects (e.g. safe display microsuture) bioengineering - properties of a good clinical material. 3-D printing on a hand-held device visualising fixed, stained stem cells.Microsurgery, with delicate instruments, an operative microscope and stitches finer than a hair, is used to repair injured nerves, however, despite careful technique not all of the injured nerve grows back. This leaves patients with numbness, pain and loss of movement. The brachial plexus is a large network of nerves supplying the upper limb and the Scottish National Brachial Plexus Centre is based in Glasgow (http://www.brachialplexus.scot.nhs.uk). Damage to brachial plexus can be functionally devastating and result in patients being unable to move their arm, with a clear impact on work, sport and play. New ways of addressing nerve injury at the cell-scale are needed to restore function after nerve injury. In my research I work as part of a team of scientists and surgeons developing bioengineering approaches to develop a novel approach to nerve repair and improve healing. This laboratory based project incorporates biodegradable polymer fabrication, 3-D printing and stem cell engineering to assist nerves to grow across the site of injury. It is necessary to confirm that these techniques are safe in the laboratory, before translation to clinical practice. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Interesting engagement with public and colleagues. 
URL http://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/learning/hunterianassociates/brachial%20plexus/
 
Description Cochrane Systematic Review "Bioengineered nerve conduits and wraps for peripheral nerve repair of the upper limb"
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD012574/full
 
Description Introduction of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery/Tissue Engineering in Medical School Core Curriculum
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Prior to organising this academic day plastic and reconstructive surgery and tissue engineering did not feature in the University core curriculum. A team of 6 plastic and reconstructive surgeons alongside myself provided an academic day for year 4 undergraduate students and developed learning objectives and exam questions, securing this topic as part of the core curriculum. Feedback from students was gathered regarding knowledge, satisfaction and interest in persuing a career in this field in the future, demonstrable changes were recorded following provision of formal teaching.
 
Description British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) small research grant
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 02/2019
 
Description Glasgow Childrens Hospital Charity Small Research Grant - GCHC/SPG/2016/03
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Funding ID GCHC/SPG/2016/03 
Organisation Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2016 
End 08/2017
 
Description Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh Pump Priming Grant
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SRG/16/095 
Organisation The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 09/2017
 
Description Travel Award - Training and Awards Committee
Amount £1,400 (GBP)
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 05/2016
 
Description Wellcome Trust ISSF Public Engagement Award
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 01/2017
 
Title Development of microCT protocol for imaging bioengineered conduit and nerve regeneration 
Description Development of "multi-channel" labelling to detect, cells, tissue regenation and integration with a bioengineered nerve conduit. 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Facilitates ongoing work investigating nerve injury and regeneration. 
 
Title Dynamic Weight Bearing for assessment of peripheral nerve injury 
Description Development of tool to evaluate functional outcome following peripheral nerve injury. Minimises operator interaction and animal stress, making more valid outcome tool and in keeping with 3Rs. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Planned publication. 
 
Title Electrophysiological evaluation of peripheral nerve regeneration (15mm rat sciatic nerve model) 
Description Fatigue index developed in this model, alongside standard measurements of CMAP/latency/force. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Increased sensitivity of electrophysiological outcomes following nerve repair in vivo. 
 
Title In cell Western (ICW) for DRG explant model 
Description The use of ICW for quantitative evaluation of protein levels in DRGs is a new application of the technique and allows for reduction in number of DRGs required, compared to standard Western blot as well as more rapid throughput. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The use of ICW for quantitative evaluation of protein levels in DRGs is a new application of the technique and allows for reduction in number of DRGs required, compared to standard Western blot as well as more rapid throughput. 
 
Title Reconstructive Surgical Trial Network 
Description As Scottish representitive for the Royal College of Surgeons funded Reconstructive Surgical Trial Network I am helping to form a co-ordinate, national approach to surgical trials within our progressive field. This provides multi-centre, meaningful evaluation of new investigative and treatment modalities as well as national audits of best practice. 
Type Of Material Data handling & control 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of a team whose focus is: Promotion of research culture within plastic and reconstructive surgery Development of multiple muti-centre audits and clinical trials (in various stages of development and completion) - see website for detail Increased awareness/uptake of RSTN in Scotland 
URL http://reconstructivesurgerytrials.net
 
Description Development of micro CT imaging of nerve and novel nerve conduit 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department School of Clinical Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution - development of novel radio-opaque nerve conduit - development of staining protocol - development of volumetric reconstruction
Collaborator Contribution - development of microCT scanning parameters for novel nerve conduit - development of volumetric reconstruction
Impact - national presentation and peer review publication planned - has been used in public engagement
Start Year 2014
 
Description Mechanical materials characterisation 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department MRC - University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are interested to establish a system to continuously stretch a scaffold with cells to mimic tissue growth & extension. In order to achieve uniformity of extension we developed a method to freeze the polymer in the amorphous state. This material modification by freezing a normally crystalline polymer led to an extension of the polymer overall, similar to an elastic material under stretch rather than having a moving boundary where the material would be extended. In order to understand the cells growth on these substrates it is essential to better and in depth characterise the materials properties.
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration with Elizabeth Tanner on the characterisation of plastic flow by using optical flow combined with mechanical stress strain measurements. Correlative of physical and mechanical measurements. Ricky Unadkat was trained in obtaining and interpreting stress strain curves, and is allowed to use the Instron testing machines. He is also being trained to do the correlative measurement and analysis of optical flow and mechanical testing. He also is helped by technical personnel supervising the equipment.
Impact not yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description Radio opaque polymers for nerve repair, and imaging 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department School of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have developed a micro fabricated conduit to aid nerve repair, the polymer that we use, polycaprolactone, is MRI and X-ray transparent; after seeing a paper by Benjamin Nottelet (U Montpellier) we approached him and have been using his polymer to allow X-ray microtomography imaging of the construct in situ. The work is covered by the following MTA: CT 115813 MTA Glasgow University IBMM (Nottelet) - 68883.
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis and chemical characterisation of iodine labelled polycaprolactone for the use in nerve repair constructs.
Impact There are two publications in planning Multidisciplinary: Chemistry (Prof Benjamin Nottelet), Biology (Suzanne Thomson), Medical/Bio-Engineering (Riehle), Imaging (DR Robert Wallace, Prof Hamish Simpson University Edinburgh)
Start Year 2015
 
Description Radio opaque polymers for nerve repair, and imaging 
Organisation University of Montpellier
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have developed a micro fabricated conduit to aid nerve repair, the polymer that we use, polycaprolactone, is MRI and X-ray transparent; after seeing a paper by Benjamin Nottelet (U Montpellier) we approached him and have been using his polymer to allow X-ray microtomography imaging of the construct in situ. The work is covered by the following MTA: CT 115813 MTA Glasgow University IBMM (Nottelet) - 68883.
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis and chemical characterisation of iodine labelled polycaprolactone for the use in nerve repair constructs.
Impact There are two publications in planning Multidisciplinary: Chemistry (Prof Benjamin Nottelet), Biology (Suzanne Thomson), Medical/Bio-Engineering (Riehle), Imaging (DR Robert Wallace, Prof Hamish Simpson University Edinburgh)
Start Year 2015
 
Description Radio-opaque polycaprolactone (RO PCL) for medical bioengineering 
Organisation University of Montpellier
Department Institute of Biomolecules Max Mousseron (IBMM)
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution - fabrication of 3D nerve conduit from RO PCL - evaluation of biological compatability - microCT assessment
Collaborator Contribution - development of RO PCL - supply of RO PCL
Impact - work will be submitted to national and international conference and for peer reviewed publication - work has been used in public engagement processes
Start Year 2015
 
Description Reconstructive Surgical Trials Network 
Organisation British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I am Scottish representitive on the international Reconstructive Surgical Trials Network (RSTN) - a network of plastic and reconstructive surgery trainees and consultants with an academic interest developed with support of the Royal College of Surgeons, British Surgical Society for the Hand and British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. I relay information between the RSTN and Scottish trainees through email, presentation at pan-Scotland teaching and annual meetings and through personal discussion. I work with the team to help arrange annual RSTN conference. We aim to facilitiate evidence based practice and the safe translation of new innovations through multi-centre clinical trials. http://reconstructivesurgerytrials.net
Collaborator Contribution The RSTN have developed an international network, and have several active clinical trials, having recruited NIHR funding. We are working together to improve access to surgical trials for Scottish patients and globally.
Impact The RSTN benefits from the experties of 6 dedicated surgical trials centres, with multi-disciplinary support (including clinicians, clinical researchers, statasticians, data collection teams). We have developled an international network and held annual meetings presenting ongoing projects (currently > 12, in various stages from protocol development to funding development to completed with peer review published results).
Start Year 2016
 
Description Scottish National Brachial Plexus Service - Prof AM Hart 
Organisation NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC)
Department Scottish National Brachial Plexus Injury Service
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The Scottish National Brachial Plexus Centre is located in Glasgow and responsible for the care of all individuals with injuries to the brachial plexus throught Scotland.
Collaborator Contribution Ongoing regular discussion, mentoring, guidance and collaboration.
Impact MRC funded research project, other smaller grants secured, local, national and international presentation. Ongoing work towards peer reviewed publications. Ongoing training in plastic and reconstrcuctive surgery techniques.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Umea Universitet - Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB)/Peripheral Nerve Research Group - Dr Kingham/Prof Wiberg 
Organisation Umea University
Department IMB
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution - evaluation of differentiated adipose derived stem cells (Umea) on materials fabricated at University of Glasgow - parameters include survival, proliferation, differentiation and co-culture with dorsal root ganglion explant to evaluate nerve regeneration - future plans to assess in vivo as part of a combinational strategy to enhance nerve regeneration - progression towards this aim is ongoing through development of fabrication, and functional outcome assessment methods.
Collaborator Contribution - technique of ADSC harvest, isolation and differentiation - genomic and proteomic evaluation guidance
Impact - international presentations with publication of abstract - working towards completion of first publication - public engagement
Start Year 2013
 
Description University of Glasgow - Dr Mathis Riehle 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department Centre for Cell Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My research is undertaken predominantly at the Centre of Cell Engineering where we have ongoing collaborations with active contributions and discussion on a daily basis.
Collaborator Contribution My research is undertaken predominantly at the Centre of Cell Engineering where we have ongoing collaborations with active contributions and discussion on a daily basis.
Impact Mulitple national and international presentations. Peer reviewed publications in progress. Public engagement projects.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Centre for Cell Engineering Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Established centre for cell engineering website to improve public engagement and reflect ongoing work within our department. This provides a platform for engagement of many audiences and a resource for current and prospective colleagues. This is directly alligned to University of Glasgow strategy and we have worked closely with the University social media teams. The website features details of all staff, ongoing research, collaborators and output and features a weekly blog. Sustainability is a key feature in our social media strategy and funding has been secured to aid in ongoing work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Fun day with the Erb's Palsy Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact About 80 people attended the Erb's Palsy outreach day at the Science Centre Galsgow organised by Suzanne Thomson on behalf of the national Brachial Plexus Centre, Scotland, QEUH. The
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Glasgow Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I organised a brachial plexus and peripheral nerve interactive even during the two week science festival event in 2015. There were cells to view, anatomical specimens, 3-D printers and microsurgical instruments for people to see and interact with. This allowed interaction with a mixed audience and resulted in requests for visits to our lab and hospital and discussion of future application of current research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017
 
Description Hunterian Associate Programme (Glasgow) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Brachial Plexus Past, Present and Future

- interactive stand featuring anatomical drawings from Hunterian collection, surgical instruments and images of nerve reconstruction and cell engineering (3D printing/immunohistochemistry) approaches to improve nerve outcomes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/learning/hunterianassociates/brachial%20plexus/
 
Description Introduction of tissue engineering and plastic and reconstructive surgery to University of Glasgow core curriculum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Prior to organising this academic day plastic and reconstructive surgery and tissue engineering did not feature in the University core curriculum. A team of 6 plastic and reconstructive surgeons alongside myself provided an academic day for year 4 undergraduate students and developed learning objectives and exam questions, securing this topic as part of the core curriculum. Feedback from students was gathered regarding knowledge, satisfaction and interest in persuing a career in this field in the future, demonstrable changes were recorded following provision of formal teaching.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Invited talk at Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Attended meeting, talk entitled: Acoustic Tweezers and Microstructures to Manipulate Cells in the Aid of Nerve Repair. Including aspects of the work by R Unadkat, S Thomson and R Docherty all involving different aspect of research into nerve repair.
Very good feedback on the talk.
Contact with three other participants may lead on to further collaborative research: John Hardy, Chemistry, Lancaster; Ben Fabry, Physics, Erlangen; Rainer Detsch, Biomaterials, Erlangen.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.biomaterials-meet-biophysics.fau.de/portal/scientific-program/
 
Description National Erbs Palsy/Scottish National Brachial Plexus Service family day - Glasgow Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact Over 80 people made it along to the North Tower of the Glasgow Science Centre, including the Erb's Palsy Trustees and the Scottish National Brachial Plexus/Centre for Cell Engineering team. This day provided an opportunity for children, young people and families living with Erbs palsy to interact with clinical and research team in a relaxed and fun environment. Feedback helped shape national service design and future research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Pint of Science talk at Hug & Pint, Glasgow 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Pint of Science talk on what the group does on nerve repair. As the audience was the general public this included a bit of background on the peripheral nervous system. The talk started with a description of my role as a teacher, admin, researcher and hobbies, to be followed by a short motivational slide on why peripheral nerve repair is an interesting topic. The cells especially the dimensions of the axon and the absence of nerve cell bodies were explained. Introduced the modalities that are transmitted along nerves and how they are involved in pain sensing. Using the currently in the news Avocado cut as an example I introduced the nerves of the arm and the "funny bone" as an example where one can feel a nerve easily. Then introduced current therapy as in surgery, autologous transplant and current nerve conduits. This then lead to a short overview of the technologies being developed in the lab, including stem cells to support repair, micro fabricated degradable polymer tubes, electroactive polymer tubes, acoustic alignment of cells and stretching materials to grow longer nerves. A prop made of parafilm allowed the audience to grow some nerves themselves by pulling the polymer sheet apart. In the end thanking the people who did the work, and the funders. This sparked questions on "can't I be a fat donor so that my figure improves", "can the acoustic devices be used in the human", ... Feedback by the audience - waiting to be served was really good with several having really enjoyed the puling nerves and the slightly gruesome Avocado cut, which some people doubted exists... I put the details about the talk, a link to the slides and my version of the abstract on my blog at: http://bio-mat-sketches-mor.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/pint-of-science-beautiful-mind-15th-may.html .
This was also mentioned in a blogpost by one of the sponsors NC3Rs: https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/news/impressions-pint-science-2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://pintofscience.co.uk/event/the-building-blocks-of-the-brain
 
Description Wallstreet Wednesday 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Wallstreet Wednesday is a monthly science collaborative, discussing recent developments in cell engineering and clinical translation. It features expert talks, debates on topical issues and provides a collaborative network between biologists, engineers, clinicians and industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.cceuog.co.uk/#!wallstreet-wednesday/csis7