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Research

Current Projects

  1. Fabrication of novel tissue engineering scaffolds for bone/cartilage/osteochondral repair

    In a high percentage of patients, damages to the articular cartilage surface and the underlying subchondral bone can easily progress to joint degeneration, especially osteoarthritis, which is the leading cause of disability in the United States. To help the disabled patients to resume their lost activities, extensive efforts have been made in osteochondral defect treatment, but there is still no widely accepted method which produces consistent, satisfactory results. The long-term aim of the current project is to use the newly emerging tissue engineering approach to generate articular cartilage/bone with excellent functionality and long-term stability.
     
  2. Scaling-up and standardization of hydroxyapatite-reinforced bovine collagen lamellar scaffolds

    Mineralized collagen fibers are the basic building blocks of natural bone. A biomimetic lamellar scaffold inspired by nature has been developed consisting of self-assembled mineralized collagen fibers. Optimum scaffold preparation at the laboratory scale was determined in our previous work. In this project, standard procedures of collagen extraction from bovine tendons will be created and optimized. Scaffold production will also be scaled-up and prototyped. In addition, FDA documentation for the prototyped scaffold will be initiated.
     
  3. Integrated modeling and experimental approach for designing and manufacturing novel bioresorbable composites for load-bearing bone fixation devices

    The objective of this project is to achieve a fundamental understanding of the effect of apatite/fibrous polymer composite constructions on the mechanical properties, degradation rate and bone formation rate of the material. In the last two decades, there has been tremendous interest in the fabrication of apatite/polymer composites. Such composites have stable bone/implant interfaces, excellent biocompatibility, and low risk of stress-shielding. Despite the success in apatite/polymer composite studies, the existing composites have relatively poor mechanical properties, which restrict their use in many applications, such as a skeletal implant in load-bearing situations. Rational materials design and precise engineering of the composites are becoming increasingly important in the development of a new generation of materials for broader orthopedic applications.
     
  4. pH-responsive, magnetically-drivable nanoworms for tumor drug delivery

    A long-standing challenge with cancer treatment using nanoparticles is the extremely low delivery efficiency (~ 0.7%) of therapeutic agents to tumors due to the short circulation time of nanoparticles and the abnormal tumor microenvironment. To address these issues, the goal of this project is to establish a tunable, naturally derived collagen-based, magnetic nanoworm carrier system, which possesses pH-responsive drug release, prolonged blood circulation time, and passive and active targeting delivery for a more efficient delivery of therapeutic payloads to tumors.