Zhao – Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Xin Zhao
Options: Volunteer Basis, Potential for Academic Credit on Project 1

Project 1
Interpenetrating polymer network hydrogels containing hyaluronic acid and tropoelastin for cartilage repair

Articular or hyaline cartilage plays an important role in contributing to the low-friction, load-bearing, and energy dissipation properties of the articular surfaces of joints in the musculoskeletal system. Because of its low cell density and its lack of vascular and lymphatic channels, this tissue has a limited capacity for repair after injury. Materials that could regenerate cartilage have therefore been of great interest. However, current materials developed have some limitations. In this project, hyaluronic acid and elastin (natural component in cartilage) will be used to make interpenetrating polymer network, which may endow the materials with improved mechanical, degradation and biological properties. Techniques involved include SEM, live and dead assay, histology staining, RT-PCR, actin-DAPI staining, etc.


Project 2
Bone morphogenetic protein 2 supplemented hybrid gelatin-mesoporous carbon hydrogels for bone regeneration

Bone is only second to blood transfusions as the most common tissue implanted in the clinic. Autologous bone grafts are used routinely, however, limited graft accessibility and increased costs continue to drive the development of alternative graft materials for bone regeneration and repair. This project uses a natural polymer, methacylate gelatin (GelMA) which has a unique combination of biocompatibility, biodegradability and injectability/implantability. Carbon particles are incorporated into GelMA to improve its mechanical properties as well as to provide cell adhesion sites and calcium phosphate nucleation sites. Bone morphogenetic protein-2 is loaded into the material to enhance its osteoinductive activity. Techniques involved include live and dead assay, Picogreen DNA quantification assay, alkaline phosphatase activity assay, alizarin Red assay, SEM, etc.


Both projects are designed to be published in high impact-factor journals.