This work is interested in the design of biomaterials for applications in tissue repair (e.g., cartilage tissue, meniscus tissue). The overarching goal of these projects is to design materials to appropriately interface with cells and deliver biomolecules to these tissues for repair. We have recently developed a new class of materials based on guest-host interactions that present interesting properties of being both self-assembling and shear-thinning. The specific chemistry is based on hyaluronic acid (HA) and modified with guest-host pairs cyclodextrin (CD) and adamantane (AD). Additionally, the polymers can be modified to incorporate a secondary crosslinking that can be used to stabilize the printed structures (either via photopolymerization or through Michael addition.
The overall objective will be to interface with CECT to translate this hydrogel into biofabrication systems. Specifically, projects will aim to exploit the diversity of guest-host hydrogels to tune material chemistry and printing parameters to develop better environments for the cartilage portion of the 3D printed osteochondral systems and to understand how cells communicate between the two layers of tissue. Our interests are in the design of electrospun fibrous scaffolds for the delivery of structural signals and growth factors. We will build on these to develop composite structures based on fibrous scaffolds with injectable gels for precise cell deposition.