Musculoskeletal Regeneration – Program Overview
The Musculoskeletal Regeneration Program is a multidisciplinary group focusing on a holistic approach to tissue engineering for repair of traumatic injuries of the musculoskeletal system. We combine specialist knowledge in cell biology, polymer chemistry and bioengineering in order to investigate cell/ material interactions both in vitro and in vivo. In vitro studies focus on the optimal culture conditions for primary differentiated cells (such as osteoblast and nucleus pulposus) and stem cells. The routine use cell based therapies involving mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) within the clinic is close, yet there are still some obstacles to overcome. The Musculoskeletal Regeneration Program investigates some of these problems to enable their use in the repair of bone and cartilaginous tissues. The program has a number of bioreactors in order to accurately mimic the mechanical environment normally found within the natural in vivo situation. These are then used during in vitro studies in order to provide a more natural environment and to determine the effect of mechanoregulation on cell behavior.
The interaction between the implanted cells and the biomaterial used as a carrier will be crucial in the final outcome obtained. The material and its topography can have profound effects on determining the behavior of the implanted cells. The Musculoskeletal Regeneration Program has a number of projects developing tailored biomaterials and then investigating in detail how the cells interact with the new material and its surface.
Potential solutions devised in vitro are then investigated in vivo, where additional factors such as vascularisation and immunological responses can be determined.
Detailed analysis, both from in vitro and in vivo studies is also provided by the Tissue Morphology Focus area, which is the institutes' core facility for histology and microscopy.