Potential of graphene oxide in the repair and regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Engineering and Physical Sciences


Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent condition worldwide without a disease-modifying drug or cure. It is the cause of significant patient pain and disability, and there is a huge associated personal, healthcare and societal economic burden.

Graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (RGO) have shown regenerative osteogenic potential. There is emerging evidence that GO within hydrogels can act as a growth factor delivery carrier able to enhance chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. GO therefore represents a promising strategy for musculoskeletal regeneration. The osteochondral unit that fails in articular cartilage injury and osteoarthritis may have enhanced repair potential using GO. However, the osteochondral unit failure happens within the biological milieu of the whole joint (for example, the knee). The other tissues affected in knee osteoarthritis, or indeed with early injury: meniscus, ligament, synovium and synovial fluid are not yet researched with regard to their regenerative potential with GO.

Main questions to be answered
How does GO interact with the different tissues of the osteoarthritic knee?
Is the regenerative potential for musculoskeletal tissues facilitated by GO

Planned Impact

There are numerous beneficiaries of this Advanced Biomedical Materials CDT. Firstly and of short term impact are the PhD students themselves. They will receive extensive research specific and professional/transferable skills training throughout the 4 years of the programme. They will have access to state of the art facilties and world leading academics, industry and clinicians. The training and potential placements are designed to maximise the impact of their research in terms of dissemination and movement of their research along the translation pathway.

Longer term benefits are that this distinct cohort will become the future UK Biomedical Materials leaders and be able to use their bespoke training and network within the cohort to collaborate on future worldwide funding opportunities and drive UK research in this area.

UK and international academics will benefit as they will gain the next generation of highly skilled postdoctoral researchers with knowledge and expertise not only in their specific research area but of industry, regulatory and clinical aspects.

UK and international industry will benefit - in the short term they will gain academic based research to further develop products and in the longer term have a pool of highly skilled graduates.

Clinicians will benefit from collaborative research and also the development of new and novel products to enhance the treatment of a variety of trauma and disease based needs from biomaterials.

The public will benefit as end users as patients that will have their quality of life improved from the products developed in the CDT and will be educated in novel technologies and materials to repair the human body. The UK economy will benefit from the reduced healthcare costs associated with the new and improved medical products developed in this CDT and subsequently from the trained graduates. The UK economy will also benefit from the increased revenue from medical sales products from the UK industrial partners we will be working with.

The impact of this CDT will be realised by direct academic, clinical and industrial engagement with the students allowing efficient and state of the at training and fast translation of developing products. Students will also be trained in knowledge exchange and will use these skills to disseminate their research to, and liaise with, the key stakeholders - the academic, industrial, clinical and public sectors. We will ensure widening participation routes are addressed in this CDT in order to include equality and diversity not only in our initial CDT student cohort but in future researcher generations to come.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022201/1 01/04/2019 30/09/2027
2487933 Studentship EP/S022201/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Harry Lord-Moulding