Lab works to revolutionize tissue regeneration in injured patients

Electrospun chitosan nanofibers on mouse bone
Electrospun chitosan nanofibers on mouse bone taken at 1000x magnification, that biomedical engineering graduate student Raimundo Romero used as part of his research.

Matthew Kipper’s lab is currently incorporating electrospinning into research for biomedical applications. His work was recognized and funded by the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation in 2011, and he continues to make strides with this research.

Biomedical engineering graduate student Raimundo Romero is currently working on replicating native bone tissue structure to enhance bone graft healing in injured patients.

“In our lab, we use electrospinning as a way to create materials that can be used to deliver therapeutic proteins and stem cells for tissue regeneration. By delivering the right signals to the injured tissue, we can enhance the tissue healing response to heal injuries to tissues that may not otherwise heal by themselves,” Romero said.

The electrospinning technique is being used because of its ability to manufacture materials with microscopic dimensions and large surface areas for an array of unique applications. More specifically, electrospinning creates nanofibers, or ultra-thin fibers, in various configurations. The process uses an electrical field to draw a charged polymer solution from a syringe, which is then deposited on a grounded collector.

In addition to this project, Kipper and associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ketul Popat, recently involved two chemical and biological engineering undergraduate senior design teams for the advancement of other electrospinning applications. One team worked to optimize the process of electrospinning demineralized bone matrix onto a mat for the creation of scaffolds for cell growth, and another team designed a new process for the production of engineered tissues.

Romero is optimistic for the future of this revolutionary research, “Eventual clinical translation of the tissue engineering materials produced in our lab is the ultimate goal. To that end, we plan to further investigate our materials and optimize the directed tissue healing response,” he said.