Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
Professors working in this area include:
Biomaterials are materials intended to be used in contact with biological tissues and range from contact lenses to prosthetics for hip replacement. Research on biomaterials is also strictly connected to tissue engineering which aims at generating artificial tissues by combining cells with synthetic materials.
The research on biomaterials and tissue engineering in our department is carried out in the groups led by Professors Showan Nazhat and Marta Cerruti, and focuses on materials for bone, cartilage and other connective tissue repair and augmentation.
Currently, we are developing nano-structured scaffolds for tissue engineering originated from either natural or synthetic polymers. We are also considering the incorporation of bioactive and soluble glass particles or fibers to generate biocomposites. We study their physico-chemical, mechanical and surface properties and their interactions with differentiated and precursor cells.
Another focus of our research is to understand the fundamentals of the process of biomineralization: We are testing amino acids and oligopeptides involved in the inhibition or nucleation of hydroxycarbonate apatite which is the inorganic component of bone. In the future, we plan on using oligopeptides to template the growth of nanoparticles of apatite or other materials with medical or other technological applications.