Defects in musculoskeletal tissues, e.g. in consequence of a trauma, do not always heal spontaneously but require surgical intervention. Biomaterials implanted into the defect region have to potential to support the healing process. We investigate the interaction between cells, their surrounding extracellular matrix and biomaterials for the development of innovative treatment strategies. We design micro-environments that provide specific mechanical and geometrical signals that support endogenous healing cascades for an improved healing outcome.
Biomaterial architecture-guided cell function and extracellular matrix structure to induce endogenous healing cascades
Surface curvature-controlled cell function, fate and organization
Role of extrinsic (in vivo-like) mechanical loads in cell function & fate
Spatial self-organization of cells and tissue patterning
Tension in the extracellular matrix as a cell-instructive mechanical Parameter
- A Biomaterial With a Channel-Like Pore Architecture Induces Endochondral Healing of Bone Defects
Nat Commun 2018 Oct 25;9(1):4430. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06504-7.
We here introduce a pure biomaterial approach to support bone healing. For the first time material architecture was shown to induce bone healing via a process called endochondral ossification.
- Collagen Fibrils Mechanically Contribute to Tissue Contraction in an In Vitro Wound Healing Scenario
Adv Sci (Weinh). 2019;6(9):1801780. doi:10.1002/advs.201801780
Cells impose tension on collagen fibrils by the transfer of cell traction forces into the extracellular matrix network. This process is relevant as it can eventually lead to the restoration of the pre-tension found in healthy tissue, but also to tissue scarring.
- Surface Curvature Differentially Regulates Stem Cell Migration and Differentiation via Altered Attachment Morphology and Nuclear Deformation.
Adv Sci (Weinh). 2016;4(2):1600347. doi:10.1002/advs.201600347
Surface curvature is a fundamental design parameter for porous biomaterials. The goal of this work was to achieve insights into how local surface curvature controls progenitor cell function. The findings are relevant e.g. for the design of cell-instructive materials for biomedical applications.
- Mesoscale substrate curvature overrules nanoscale contact guidance to direct bone marrow stromal cell migration.
J R Soc Interface. 2018;15(145):20180162. doi:10.1098/rsif.2018.0162
This study shows that surface curvature can overrule traditional contact guidance by nano-/micropatterns and dominate cell migration. This is the case at curvatures that are relevant in physiological processes but also for biomaterial design
- From macroscopic mechanics to cell-effective stiffness within highly aligned macroporous collagen scaffolds.
Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2019;103:109760. doi:10.1016/j.msec.2019.109760
The local mechanical stiffness controls cellular processes like progenitor cell differentiation. Through a combination of in vitro characterization and computer simulations, we were able to characterize the local mechanical stiffness inside a porous 3D biomaterial that and demonstrated a strong contrast to the material’s macroscopic properties.